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Challenging the whiteness of classics – remembering the Black Romans

By Richard Alston, Professor of Roman History, Royal Holloway University of London
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As with every humanities discipline, classics has responded to Black Lives Matter with justifiable introspection. As the study of the ancient world, and particularly that of the Mediterranean cultures, classics has a significant colonial legacy: British, French and Italian colonialists saw themselves as inheriting or continuing a “civilising mission” which they associated with the Romans. They assumed that the Romans shared their prejudices, particularly those associated with elitism and racism. When they thought about or represented Roman imperial history, they imagined it as dominated by White…The Conversation


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