This page presents evidence that Sicilians are a European people descended mainly from Ancient Greek and Italic settlers, and that foreign elements (Carthaginians, Moors, black slaves etc.) have for geographical and cultural reasons left only a negligible mark on the Sicilian gene pool. Note that much of the data provided also applies to other Italian and Southern European populations.


SICULI: "Ancient Sicilian tribe that occupied the eastern part of Sicily. Old tales related that the Siculi once lived in central Italy but were driven out and finally crossed to Sicily, leaving remnants behind.... They are hard to identify archaeologically, although some words of their Indo-European language are known." [1]

"According to ancient Greek writers, the aboriginal inhabitants of western Sicily, as opposed to the Siculi of eastern Sicily. Archaeologically there is no substantial difference between Sicani and Siculi (Sicels) in historical times; but ancient authorities believed the Sicani to be Iberians from Spain...." [2]

"Ancient historians such as Diodorus, Thucidides and Cicero frequently mention the Elymi of western Sicily as an important indigenous group distantly related to ancient Troy. Unfortunately, Elymi origins are difficult to trace. Literary and linguistic evidence suggest an amalgam of local peoples with Anatolian or Italic immigrants...." [3]


"With the arrival of the Greeks, the prehistoric inhabitants of Sicily...were absorbed in every way into Hellenistic society. Usually dated from the foundation of Zancle (now Messina) in 756 BC, the incursion of the Greeks into the eastern part of the island marked a new phase in its social development. The newcomers founded Naxos, near Taormina, in 734 BC, and Catania in 729. Siracusa (Syracuse) was founded in 733 BC, Gela in 688 BC and Agrigento in 580 BC. In the three centuries following, Sicily and the southern part of the Italian peninsula would be completely colonized by Greeks, earning the region the name Magna Graecia (Greater Greece) because it boasted more Greeks (and probably more Greek temples) than Greece itself." [4]

Vona et al. (1998) have used autosomal DNA to demonstrate "the affinity of the Sicilian and southern Italian populations to Greece," remarking that "this similarity already explained by Piazza [L' eredita genetica dell'Italia antica. Le Science, 1991] is owed to the introduction of Greek genes into southern Italy during the Greek colonisation." [5]
Cavalli-Sforza (1997), in an analysis of the five principal components of European genetic variation, notes that "the fourth is strongly reminiscent of Greek colonization in the first millennium BC." [6]


"By the time the Greeks placed their own colonies in western Sicily, the Carthaginians had already occupied the western end of the island, and for centuries the two sides struggled indecisively to seize control of the whole island. In 264, the Romans began a major war with the Carthaginians in Sicily (the First Punic War, 264-242), eventually wrestling away Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia from the Carthaginians. During the Second Punic War (218-202), the Carthaginian general Hannibal inflicted major defeats on the Romans, who eventually won the day, restricting the Carthaginians to their own immediate territory in Africa." [7]  In 210 BC, the Roman Consul M. Valerian informed the Senate that "no Carthaginian remains in Sicily." [8]

"The Arab conquest of Sicily initiated in 827 [AD] was preceded by numerous Saracen invasions of the island while it was still under Byzantine rule. By 902 the island belonged totally to the Arabs [Moors]. ... Norse invaders in the 11th century forced the Arabs to flee. Sicilian Arabs relocated to other countries and the island then came under the control of the Normans. The Norman era closed after 130 years. They had appeared on the Sicilian scene to reconquer the island for Christiandom and the west." [9]

Simoni et al.
(1999) "divide the Mediterranean area into 2 large clusters, a northern cluster and a southern cluster," noting that "the existence of sharp genetic differences between the northern and southern coasts means that gene flow was more the exception than the rule." This is seen as "a joint product of initial geographic isolation and successive cultural divergence, leading to the origin of cultural barriers to population admixture." Samples in this study include Middle Easterners and North Africans (southern coast), and Italians from the mainland and islands (northern coast). [10]

Kandil et al. (1999) have analyzed populations on both sides of the Mediterranean sea, finding that "the major genetic differentiation axis in the Mediterranean basin is a north-south axis", which "clearly differentiates the North African and Middle Eastern populations from the European populations. ... As expected, the highest distances are shown by the European-North African comparisons [while] the lowest genetic distances correspond to intra-European comparisons." Included on the 'European' side are mainland Italians, Sicilians and Sardinians. [11]

Vona et al. (1998), in a study on western Sicilians, conclude that "the genetic differentiation of the population of Trapani [a former Carthaginian center] and the populations of southern Italy appears quite clear cut from the populations of North Africa. Our analysis seems, therefore, not to confirm the existence of an evident genic flow [from] the Northern African populations." The study also notes that "Palermo [a Phoenician city and later Moorish capital] lies close to Calabria" in a "branch group[ing] all the Italian and European populations" together, separate from the North African ones. [12]

Scozzari et al. (2001) identify a Y-chromosome mutation that "diverged from the ancestor HG25.1 somewhere in North Africa a few thousand years ago", and is thus indicative of recent gene flow from North African males. The authors report that the marker "HG25.2 was seen at generally low frequencies in Spain, France, and Italy" (0.8% in Sicilians). [13]

Cruciani et al. (2004) confirm the above, using the frequencies of 'Berber' mutations (now labeled E-M81 and E-M78β) in large sample populations to estimate that North African paternal admixture within the past 5000 years amounts to 1.5% in Northern Italians, 2.2% in Central Italians, 0% in Southern Italians, 1.4% in Sardinians and 1.4% in Sicilians.

Capelli et al. (2005) identify the Y-chromosome marker J*(xJ2) (or J-M267) as possible evidence of modern Arab/Semitic, rather than prehistoric Neolithic, gene flow from the Near East. This lineage exists at the low frequency of 5.2% in Sicilians, with no significant difference between the eastern and western halves of the island. [15]

Romano et al. (2003) detect sub-Saharan (Negroid) mtDNA sequences at a rate of 0.65% in a Sicilian sample of 465, which is comparable to admixture levels for Western and Northern Europe. Asian mtDNA is observed at a frequency of 2.2%, again consistent with Northern and Eastern European admixture levels. [16]  Note that neither Scozzari, Cruciani nor Capelli (above) detect any black African or Asian Y-chromosomes in a combined sample of 479 Sicilians.


Paternal Ancestry


Ghiani et al. (2004) [17]

Maternal Ancestry

Vona et al. (2001)

Total Ancestry

Kandil et al. (1999) [19]

[NB: Turks and Jordanians are outliers on the European side.]


Randomly compiled images of mostly untanned Sicilian men and women from different walks of life, showing their European (Alpine-Mediterranean-Dinaric) racial character:

Sicilian Politicians


[1] Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., 1994-2003
[2] Ibid.
[3] Kolb, Dr. Michael. Teeth of the Wolf: Who were the ancient Elymi of Sicily? Northern Illinois University, 2003
Vona et al. (1998) Genetic structure of western Sicily. Inter J Anthro; 13:137-147
[6] Cavalli-Sforza, L.L. (1997) Genes, peoples and languages. Proc Natl Acad Sci; 94:7719-7724
[9] Quatriglio, Giuseppe. A Thousand Years in Sicily: From the Arabs to the Bourbons. Trans. Justin Vitiello. Sicilian Studies. Brooklyn: Legas, 1997
[10] Simoni et al. (1999) Patterns of gene flow inferred from genetic distances in the Mediterranean region. Hum Biol; 71:399-415
[11] Kandil et al. (1999) Red cell enzyme polymorphisms in Moroccans and southern Spaniards: New data for the genetic history of the western Mediterranean. Hum Biol; 71:791-802
[12] Op. cit. [5]
[13] Scozzari et al. (2001) Human Y-chromosome variation in the western Mediterranean area: Implications for the peopling of the region. Hum Immun; 62:871-884
[14] Cruciani et al. (2004) Phylogeographic analysis of haplogroup E3b (E-M215) Y chromosomes reveals multiple migratory events within and out of Africa. Am J Hum Genet; 74
[15] Capelli et al. (2005) Population Structure in the Mediterranean Basin: A Y Chromosome Perspective. Ann Hum Genet (Online Early)
[16] Romano et. al. (2003) Autosomal microsatellite and mtDNA genetic analysis in Sicily (Italy). Ann Hum Genet; 67:42-53
[17] Ghiani et al. (2004) Y-chromosome 10 locus short tandem repeat haplotypes in a population sample from Sicily Italy. Leg Med; 2:89-96
[18] Vona et al. (2001) Mitochondrial DNA sequence analysis in Sicily. Am J Hum Biol; 13:576-589
Op. cit. [11]


Racial Reality: Italians - Genetic and anthropological history of Italy.

"Best of Sicily" Fraud - Lies and agenda of a popular tourism website.

For more about race, genetics and anthropology, visit: