Primal Semites

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The primal Semites were, according to Rudolf Steiner, the fifth subrace[1] of the ancient Atlantis. In the meantime, the Atlantians had gained great power over the life forces and this fullness of power had been put more and more into the service of personal self-love, especially among the primal Turanians. Something now had to be done to counteract this unwholesome development.

„Such destructive effects could only be stopped by the development of a higher power in man. And that was the power of thinking. Logical thinking has a restraining effect on selfish personal desires. We have to look for the origin of this logical thinking in the fifth sub-race (the primal Semites). The people began to go beyond mere recollection of the past and to compare the various experiences. The power of judgement developed. And according to this power of judgement, the desires, the appetites were regulated. One began to calculate, to combine. One learned to work in thought. Whereas in the past one gave oneself over to every desire, now one first asks whether the thought can also approve the desire. If the people of the fourth subrace rushed wildly to satisfy their desires, those of the fifth began to listen to an inner voice. And this inner voice has a restraining effect on the desires, even if it cannot destroy the demands of the selfish personality.

Thus the fifth subrace has transferred the impulses for action into the human inner being. Man wants to work out with himself in his inner being what he is to do or not to do. But what was thus gained in the power of thought within was lost in the mastery of external forces of nature. With this combining thinking one can only conquer the forces of the mineral world, not the life force. The fifth subrace thus developed thinking at the expense of mastery over the life force. But it was precisely in this way that it produced the seed for the further development of humanity. Now, no matter how great the personality, self-love and even selfishness might become, mere thinking, which works entirely within and can no longer directly give orders to nature, is not able to produce such devastating effects as the misused earlier forces. From this fifth sub-race the most gifted part was selected, and this lived over the decline of the fourth root-race and formed the germ of the fifth, the Aryan race, which has for its task the complete expression of the thinking power with all that belongs to it.“ (Lit.:GA 11, p. 40f)



References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
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Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English.
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.


  1. The term subrace originates from the terminology used by the Theosophical Society at that time and was later no longer used by Rudolf Steiner, just like the term "root race". Steiner repeatedly pointed out that the term "race" is actually no longer justified in the post-Atlantean period, since now it is no longer the physical but the soul-spiritual development that comes to the fore. The division of humanity into races will gradually be completely overcome and is already meaningless for the spiritual development of humanity.