Homeric references to race
References to race abound in the works of Homer, the blind poet to whom credit is given for the two classic epics, the Iliad, and the Odyssey.
The Iliad – Book I. “While he was thus in two minds, and was drawing his mighty sword from its scabbard, Minerva came down from heaven (for Juno had sent her in the love she bore to them both), and seized the son of Peleus by his yellow hair, visible to him alone, for of the others no man could see her.”
The Iliad – Book XV: “Then she said, “I have come, O dark-haired king that holds the world in his embrace, to bring you a message from Jove.”
The Iliad – Book XVII: “As a cow stands lowing over her first calf, even so did yellow-haired Menelaus bestride Patroclus.”
The Odyssey – Book 4: “There fair-haired Rhadamanthus reigns, and men lead an easier life than any where else in the world, for in Elysium there falls not rain, nor hail, nor snow, but Oceanus breathes ever with a West wind that sings softly from the sea, and gives fresh life to all men.”
The Odyssey – Book 13: “Trust me for that,” said she (Minerva, talking to Odysseus),” I will begin by disguising you so that no human being shall know you; I will cover your body with wrinkles; you shall lose all your yellow hair; I will clothe you in a garment that shall fill all who see it with loathing.”
The Odyssey – Book 24: “On this Minerva came close up to him and said, “Son of Arceisius, best friend I have in the world- pray to the blue-eyed damsel, and to Jove her father; then poise your spear and hurl it.”
Hippolytus by Euripides
Antistrophe: “Was wasting on the bed of sickness, pent within her house, a thin veil o’ershadowing her head of golden hair.”
Phardra: “Away to the mountain take me! to the wood, to the pine-trees will go, where hounds pursue the prey, hard on the scent of dappled fawns. Ye gods! what joy to hark them on, to grasp the barbed dart, to poise Thessalian hunting-spears close to my golden hair, then let them fly.”
The racial change leading to the fall of the classical Roman civilization
All civilizations fall only if the people who made those civilizations vanish. This is a truth, which applies to all races, nations, and people: as long as the people who created a particular civilization survive, and are present in significant numbers, the civilization that they created, will continue. Once those people vanish, then their civilization vanishes with them. There is no escaping this iron law of nature.
Classical Rome, one of the mightiest nations of the ancient world, was no exception to this rule. Although historians tend to focus on economic, moral, or military reasons for the fall of Rome, the real reason why this mighty civilization fell was because the very people who established the Roman civilization, ceased making up the majority population in and around Rome.
Although many historians have either ignored the racial factor in the cause of the fall of the Roman Empire—and some have never even thought about it—there have been many who have recognized race as the critical element. Amongst the more famous of these were professor Tenney Frank, from the Johns Hopkins University. Professor Frank, a recognized authority on the history of ancient Rome, is most famous for his work An Economic History of Rome (New York, Cooper Square Publishers, 1927, reprinted 1962) but his other works included the important “Race Mixture in the Roman Empire” published in the American Historical Review, volume 21 pages 689-708.
Along with Frank, many other well-known and respected historians dealt with the issue of how the Roman population changed. Amongst these were professor A.M. Duff; Charles Merivale; George La Piana; Theodor Mommsen; and the multiple authors of both the Cambridge Ancient History and the Encyclopedia Britannica’s Historians’ History of the World.
Frank’s first clue
Frank outlined how he first realized that race mixture was the cause of the change in Roman society. By studying the names of graves on the Appian Way in Rome, he found that huge numbers of late Roman Republic inhabitants had names which originated in the Levant, or Middle East, in strong contrast to the early inhabitants of Rome, who had Latin names. Frank then went on to make a determined study of the tombs and monuments in Rome and surrounds, drawing up a database of over 13,900 different names. His analysis of those names drew the conclusion that about 75 percent of those names were not Latin in origin. The “Greek” names were for the greatest part not Greeks at all, and were Middle Easterners who had adopted Greek names, particularly after the conquest of their region by Alexander the Great. The writer Juvenal, speaking of the Roman population, actually points out the Levantine origin of many of these people in his writings, referring to the Syrian River, the Orontes: “These dregs call themselves Greeks but how small a portion is from Greece; the River Orontes has long flowed into the Tiber” (Juvenal, III, 62).
Frank went on to explain the push and pull effect that led to the racial makeup change in Rome: of how native Romans were drawn away from Rome by colonization and military service, and of how their places were taken up by slaves, in serfdom and as freedmen, in Rome itself.
It is estimated that the slave population of Rome and its immediate surrounding area at the time of Augustus (circa 30 BC) was some 300,000-350,000 out of a population of about 900,000-950,000 (Hopkins, K. Conquerors and Slaves: Sociological Studies in Roman History, Volume 1. Cambridge, 1978). For all of Italy, the figure is approximately the same. A figure of around two million slaves out of a population of about six million at the time of Augustus is accurate—this means that at this early stage one in every three persons in Rome and Italy was a slave.
Charles Merivale points out how Julius Caesar himself saw the danger of slave labor flooding Rome, and actually passed a law forbidding certain types of labor-intensive work from using only slaves.
Roman fate sealed
Professor A.M. Duff pointed out that even by the time of Octavian Augustus, there were significant numbers of “Orientals” in Rome. Duff goes on to describe the social change process at work in Roman society. The desire of Romans to emigrate to other areas of the empire, is mentioned by the Roman writer Seneca, who stated that Romans looked for every opportunity to leave their native country. Freed slaves, mostly of Syrian or Eastern extraction, soon became numerically strong in Rome itself. The Emperor Philip was in fact born in Syria, and became known as “Philip the Arabian” as a result. Tacitus complains that in Nero’s day most of the senators and members of the aristocracy were now men of ex-slave status—and most of these were of Eastern origin.
By the Third Century AD, many of the emperors were actually descendants of the slaves of earlier centuries. George La Piana states it this way: “The denationalized capital of the great empire, came to be ruled by the offspring of races which originally had come to the city only to serve” (La Piana, Foreign Groups in Rome, p. 223).
Based on his research, Frank goes on to estimate that as much as 90 percent of the population of the city of Rome was of “servile extraction.” While this 90 percent would not all have been of foreign race, the majority most certainly were. “This Orientalization of Rome’s populace has a more important bearing than is usually accorded it upon the larger question of why the spirit and acts of imperial Rome are totally different from those of the republic. There was a complete change in the temperament!” (Frank, p. 705).
Slavery, the key
The Historians History of the World, edited by HS Williams, and published by the Encyclopedia Britannica underlines the importance of slavery in this change in Roman society: “Slavery was the most determined enemy of that spirit of conservatism and tradition which had been the strength of the Roman race.”
The replacement of the original Roman people by immigrants was marked first at the lowest levels or society, but then gradually made its way up through all levels. Septimus Severus was the first Roman Emperor who was not of Roman extraction, born as he was a Phoenician from North Africa. His wife was Julia Domna, a Syrian. Severus was succeeded by his two sons, who reigned for awhile together then successively. The throne later came to two grandsons. In all, the Syro-Phoenicians dominated the Roman Empire from 193 A.D. to 235 A.D.
A suppressed view of history
It is therefore clear that many famous historians who studied the classical Roman era in depth, saw clearly the change in race which took place as being the primary cause of the fall of that civilization. In summary:
1. The original Roman people were dissipated by war, foreign service in the military and emigration to their colonies;
2. Their place in Rome and surrounds was taken by the wholesale importation of slaves, the majority of whom had come from the mixed race southeastern reaches of the empire;
3. Eventually not even the emperors themselves were of Roman extraction; and
4. As a result, the remaining Roman population became increasingly of mixed racial origin as time progressed.
The importance of this racial change was not lost on many famous historians, but the modern era’s censorship of the issue of race as a determining factor, has led to the deliberate suppression of the work of Frank (and others). Nonetheless, the accuracy and validity of their observations remain as true as ever, and provide the real answer for the fall of the classical Roman civilization.