Before Color Prejudice
The Ancient View of Blacks
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Year Published: 1991
Pages: 176pp ISBN: 9780674063815
Resource Type: Book
Cx Number: CX21736
The book examines the relationship between Mediterranean whites and African blacks in antiquity and the absence of colour prejudice, and why those attitudes have shifted in post antiquity.
In this richly-illustrated account of black-white contacts from the Pharaohs to the Caesars, Frank M. Snowden demonstrates that the ancients did not discriminate against blacks because of their color. For three thousand years Mediterranean whites intermittently came in contact with African blacks in commerce and war, and left a record of these encounters in art and in written documents. The blacks - most commonly known as Kushites, Ethiopians, or Nubians - were redoubtable warriors and commanded the respect of their white adversaries. The overall view of blacks was highly favorable. In science, philosophy, and religion color was not the basis of theories concerning inferior peoples. And early Christianity saw in the black man a dramatic symbol of its catholic mission.
This book sheds light on the reasons for the absence in antiquity of virulent color prejudice and for the difference in attitudes of whites toward blacks in ancient and modern societies.