Name formerly given to prehistoric people who settled in ancient Iran and the northern Indian subcontinent. Their language is believed to have influenced the Indo-European languages of South Asia. In the 19th century there arose a notion, propagated by the count de Gobineau and later by his disciple Houston Stewart Chamberlain, of an Aryan race: people who spoke Indo-European, especially Germanic, languages and lived in northern Europe. The Aryan race was considered to be superior to all other peoples. Although this notion was repudiated by numerous scholars, including Franz Boas, the notion was seized on by Adolf Hitler and was made the basis of the Nazi policy of exterminating Jews, Roma (Gypsies), and other non-Aryans. See alsoracism.