Herodotus, a Greek historian, wrote a history of the known world 2,440 years ago. It is the oldest book we have where a person we would call White talks at length about black-skinned people.
Three things set him apart from the way Whites talk about Blacks in our time:
- He did not divide the world by race. He divided it by continent – Europe, Asia and Libya (Africa) – and by language – Greek and barbarian – but not by race. He talks about people with black skin, but not about “black people” as if they were one of the main kinds of humans. He applies the term “Ethiopian” to some black-skinned people, but not to all.
- Egyptians were black. He saw Egyptians as having black skin and woolly hair (Herodotus, 2.104). He visited Egypt 75 years after the Persians had taken over but before the Greeks, Romans and Arabs had. He…
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