HIST 10 World Civ
Lect. #8

Ancient World in Technicolor: Race & Ethnicity in Ancient Greece and Rome

IDs:
         Polychromatic
         Septimus Severus
         Quintus Lollius Urbicus
         colorism
       

        


I. Race & Ethnicity in the Popular Imagination

                            • Elgin Marbles (Thomas Bruce 7th Lord Elgin)

         A. Ancient Greece and Rome [Map: Ancient Greece; Roman Empire ]
                1.Foundation of Western Civilization
                            • Influence in modern imagination
                            • Popular Culture
                                       - Russell Crowe in Gladiator
                                       - Brad Pitt in Troy
                                       - 300 (Battle of Thermopylae): Xerxes [Apadana Relief]
                                       - Assasin's Creed Odyssey

                2
. What did the Ancient Greeks and Romans look like?
                            • Diverse as today
                                       - "Nothing comparable to the color prejudices of modern times" (Frank Snowden, Howard University)
                            • Why white?
                                       - Happenstance?
                                       - Statues made of white marble?
                            • Classical Hints
                                       - Polychromatic -
                                               •
Colors of Life - Getty Museum
                                               • Temple of Aphaia in Aigina (c. 490 BC)
                                               • Tracing Colors in Ancient Statues (video)
                                               •
Ara Pacis Augustae (c. 13 BC) [video)
                                       - S. Stefano Rotondo (Third century AD)

                            • Whitewashing the past?
                                       - Classical Beauty?
                                       - Taxonomy of race, culture and the past (18th - early 20th century)
                                               • Needed to maintain colonial superiority
                                               • Ancient world became central part of that telling
                                                         +Greek columns
                                                         + Lincoln Memorial
                                                         +Thomas Jefferson's Monticello
                                               • Taken to "natural" ends
                                               • Not an "academic" issue
                                                         + Mary Beard (Oxford)

         B. Race and Ethnicity in Ancient World
                1. Greek and Roman: "Color blind"?
                            • Classifications for group organization: ethnos; genos; phylla; gens; nation
                            • Herodotus (Greek)
                                       - Blood
                                       - Language
                                       - Religious Practices
                                       - Ethos (way of life)

                            • "Environmental" determinism
                                       - Used mythical genealogies, foundation stories
                                               • descent
                                               • customs
                                               • languages

                                       - Wrestling with both physical and cultural differences they encountered
                                               • Hippocrates (Greek physician)
                                                  - Scythians = red, flabby and unhealthy
                                                         + filled with water b/c lived in cold wet climate)
                                               • Vitruvius (Roman architect)
                                                  - Ethiopians = long lived, healthy, dark skinned (b/c of sunburn),
                                                         + intelligent but cowardly (b/c sun dried up spare blood)
                                                  - Germans = red hair and pale b/c of cold climate, dull witted, and
                                                         + courageous (b/c lot of blood to spare with cold climate)
                                               • Herodotus
                                                  - Harsh lands breed hard people and bountiful lands breed soft ones

                            • Roman Tolerance
                                       - Mythic past (The Aeneid) narrates a "mixed" immigrant past
                                               • Aeneas migrated with last of Trojans (Phoenicians) to Italy from Troy,
                                                         +
had child by native Italian
                                               • Romulus and Remus descendents . . . Romulus founding Rome
                                       - Roman practices
                                               • Incorporating non-Roman peoples as citizens
                                                  - Both descendents of freed slaves
                                                         + ethnically (and racially) diverse peoples of the provinces
                                                  - Roman identity (or citizenship) was NOT based on racial or ethnic purity
                                                  - Romans could be (in modern terms):

                                                                            • Greek
                                                                            • Syrian
                                                                            • Judean
                                                                            • Galic (French)
                                                                            • German
                                                                            • Spanish
                                                                            • Numidian
                                                                            • Nubian
                                                                            • Ethiopian
                                                                            • Egyptian
                                                                            • etc

                                               • Equal Opportunity Rome
                                                  - Septimius Severus (145-211 AD/r. 193-211AD)
                                                                            • Libyan descent
                                                                            • Gaul
                                                  - Quintus Lollius Urbicus (c. 2nd century AD)
                                                                            • Numidia (Algeria)
                                                                            • Lower Germany
                                                                            • Britain (c. 138-144)

             B. Past and the Present
                     1. Question of Whiteness
                            • White Diversity
                                       - Pre-1900
                                               • Inferior/Superior divisions
                                               • Saxons/Celts
                                                  - Sxon = intelligent, energetic, sober, Protestant, and beautiful
                                                  - Celt = stupid, impulsive, drunken, Catholic and ugly
                                       - Immigration
                                               • Italians, Jews, Greeks
                                               • Rise of "Scientific" classifications: IQs, facial measurements, etc.
                                       - Post-WWII White homogeniety
                                               • Rise of "ethnic" identities
                     2. Race and colorism in non-Western Contexts
                            • Egypt
                                       - Black Athena
                                       - Continental determinism: "Black Africa"

                            • South Asia
                                       - Four orders of Purusha:
                                               • Brahmin (head)
                                               • Kshatriya (arms)
                                               • Vaishya (thighs)
                                               • Shudras (feet)

                                       - Aryan
                                               • Aryan (immigrant noble population)
                                               • Dasas (local population)