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Example of racism in antiquity?

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Roman legionnaire from the 1st century CE
Roman legionnaire from the 1st century CE

In ancient Rome, at the beginning of the day, there was faith in divination, good and bad omen announcing future events and superstitions. Such faith did not always end pleasantly for everyone, especially if a man was considered to be the evil sign that heralded the misfortune that would come.

This was the fate of Ethiopian (Greek Αἰθίοψ), a man with a darker skin colour, whom Brutus’ army saw in front of the gate when she left the camp. Then the army saw the wrong sign, so he was killed on the spot. This example may arouse a discussion about racism in ancient times.

Author: Bartosz Lisiecki
  • Appian, The Civil Wars, 2.88.
  • Photo: Jurij Serebrjakov | I AM MODELIST

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