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Ethnic Minorities & Women At Dunkirk

IMHO most British people did not see a black face until the 1940/50s and the coming of post war immigration.

I can imagine some truth in this.

As mentioned in a previous thread a while ago, my Granmother grew up in Italy during WW2 in a region north of Naples and south of Rome, in the same area of Monte Casino.

Apart from having to host ungrateful German soldiers, she also witnessed the Americans moving through the area as the conflict wore on.

One thing she clearly remembers is being scared of the black American soldiers as no one had ever seen black people before.

She says they were referred to as black devils, although she never said they did anything particularly devilish or acted badly, it must have been an eye opener for her as a child.

I don't imagine there was much interest for people from Africa to move into equally as poor areas in Europe back then, unlike nowadays.

Not saying it never happened, but I imagine it was extremely rare.
 
Average citizens wouldn't have travelled as widely as Hadrian did but many people did travel long distances either because of military service, trade or their civilian careers.

A few thousand army personnel and civil servants ain't quite the same as mass immigration. With regards to trade, I still doubt that too. Trade would have changed hands several times rather than a single merchant making a dangerous and daunting journey. Around the Med wouldn't have been so bad, but imho trade via Britain would overwhelmingly have been via Gaul. The idea that thousands of dusky types would have been travelling from North Africa to make their way to some cold and wind swept island off the coast of NW Europe is rather absurd when there's so many other closer and more luxurious colonies close by.



Britannia was first mapped in the 320s BC by a Greek explorer who also visited Norway, the Baltic and the Don and made it far enough north to encounter icebergs. Mediterranean boats had no problem making it to the modern UK

Tell that to Caesar when he tried to invade Britannia and half his cavalry ended up miles away because the Romans had no concept of tides. A few intrepid explorers don't equate to a complete knowledge of the complex tidal ranges of the Atlantic and North sea. Their knowledge of places like Ireland and Scotland was on par with the dark side of the moon.


There's been trade between the UK and the Mediterranean world since long before the Roman occupation - it's believed that the Tin Islands mentioned by Herotodus (who lived in the 400sBC) among others refers to Cornwall which was a major source of tin as far back as the Stone Age. There's mention of islands beyond Gaul where tin comes from in Greek writing as far back as 500BC.

I quite agree, but that trade was most likely via the Northern European ports and trade would have changed hands several times rather than a single merchant making a long and dangerous journey. A good example from the Eastern world would be the highly sought after cinnamon, thought to be used by 'giant cinammon birds'.
Cinnamon - Wikipedia

If your theory of merchants travelling on single journeys was true then the myth of cinammon wouldn't stand up to scrutiny because it would have been delivered straight from the supplier, but seeing as it had to change hands several times via the spice routes hardly anyone knew its true origin.



They wouldn't have been as common a sight as they are today but I'd imagine that Britons who lived around military sites or Roman cities would probably have seen at least some non-white faces - there were a number of African origin military leaders in the Britannia based Legions (Septimius Severus, the Libyan Emperor, being the most famous - he died in York) and a fair few African origin skeletons have been found from the Roman era.


Over the best part of 350 years of Roman Rule in Britannia that still doesn't equate to anything like mass immigration and I still stand by the claim that most people in Ancient Britain would never have seen a black face. Even in the Middle Ages Sub Saharan people were a rare sight, otherwise the Crusaders wouldn't have written that they saw men 'whose faces were so burnt by the sun that they were completely black' or words to that effect, because if it were a common phenomenon it wouldn't have been worth mentioning. I guess we'll never come to a final conclusion because no complete records exist for immigration in the Classical world.

Incidentally, I recently got banned from replying to the comments section of my local paper for daring to question the wisdom of mass immigration. I didn't say anything racist, merely the observation that multiculturalism tends towards division because of fear of perceived differences. Apparently this was enough to silence me permanently and only goes to support my case that local councils/government have an agenda to support and won't tolerate free speech or criticism of their glorious utopia.

This is an interesting side debate, I'd like to learn more about Ancient Judea because that was apparently a very multicultural Roman territory but the Greeks and Jews didn't get along for some reason.
 
Anyway, what have the Romans ever done for us, eh?
 
@Sixty is a Classicist so may be able to shed some more light on this era.
 
Were these Romans at Dunkirk? Were there 300 of them?
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
The idea that thousands of dusky types would have been travelling from North Africa to make their way to some cold and wind swept island off the coast of NW Europe is rather absurd when there's so many other closer and more luxurious colonies close by.
And yet today, they are queuing up in Calais...
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Do you understand the definition of the world "typical"? If it was "typical" why do paintings from the era of Roman Britain depicting the interaction of citizens of that time show that the nonwhites were a distinct minority and therefore non-typical? Nobody is claiming that Britain did not have immigrants as part of it's population, but their numbers would by no means make them "typical" of the representation of the racial makeup of Britain. It would be beyond absurd to make the claim that a blonde haired white person is a "typical" citizen of Nigeria, so why the is there movement to claim the converse is true of Roman Britain?

Here is a case in point: see here HMS Victory and her crew at the Battle of Trafalgar | HMS Victory

The crew is described as "diverse", which suggests that maybe numbers of each nationality approximated parity.

Another article referencing the first, again biased in your direction: The black heroes of Trafalgar

It celebrates that over 1/3 of the crew were "Non-English". A British Navy shouldnt necessarily be strictly English, so why the insistence? It wouldnt be trying to persuade the reader that the vessel was a multi-racial melting pot would it? When you run the numbers it is revealed that over 95% of the sailors on board were actually British, save for a few foreigners that were pressed into sailing.

The above and the cartoon incident are nothing more than a semantic legerdemain to overstate the historical presence of immigrants in Britain with a view to normalise the catastrophic mons of allowing record numbers of non-assimilable immigrants into Britain.


PS This article is far more accurate record of Britains history - Is Britain an Immigrant Nation? – Noah Carl – Medium

I assume my chronologicallly challenged friend that this post is a response to mine. May I applaud your excellent rebutted of mine by your linking to an article that mentions Romans only once, in the opening paragraph and then never again.

The article then goes on to state that

the British population does appear to have remained relatively homogenous since the island was populated by the Anglo-Saxons (and others) from the 5th to the 7th century

Since Rome and her Legions withdrew from Britain in 410/411, and the Anglo-Saxons rocked after that, the essay probes nothing at all.

Now the cartoon is of a Roman family, prior to 212 Roman citizenship had been conferred on a selective basis, particular rulers, and other important political figures and those who had completed military service, after 212 it was opened to all except slaves and former slaves.

Anyway back to the Roman thing, the important word being Roman, not Romano-British or indigenous, the father is also I'm military dress, the Romans had this rather sensible policy of not posting native soldiers in their home countries, a Briton in the Legions or Auxiliaries would be away in Germany, Hispania, North Africa or another far flung part of the Empire.

Right, we also have historical and archaeological evidence of African soldier, slaves and fancy pants nobs living and dying in Britain

In 1934, they found a stone that commemorated a North African Legion in Beaumont, Cumbria

Cumbrian church site identified as first African settlement in Britain | The Diocese of Carlisle

We also had a North African Governor, this chappy

Quintus Lollius Urbicus - Wikipedia

Again there is both Historical written evidence of his rule, and archaeological evidence in the form of commerative stones.

Another example is this chap

Clodius Albinus - Wikipedia

What about Dna and genetics, well these articles cover that quite well

Caitlin Green: A note on the evidence for African migrants in Britain from the Bronze Age to the medieval period

There are also links within that post to others on the textual and archaeological evidence too. But a significant point from Caitlin Green's blog is this of the Roman Period sites where isotopic analysis has been 47% had evidence of individuals with North African heritage.

If Mary Beard is right, what's happened to the DNA of Africans from Roman Britain?

This blog, by Classicist Dr Matthew Nicholson, covers the Mary Beard/BBC debate

Connecting Research: The Forum · How diverse was Roman Britain?

On the points of it being an "agenda" as @Dashing_Chap and @HSF have suggested, sigh, seriously guys, it's nothing if the sort.

Diversitas et Multiculturalismus

I graduated from Edinburgh Uni in 2001, with an Masters in History, I also studied Archaeology as my outside subjects. In those 16 years since both scholarship and techniques have moved on, it's sometimes hard to keep up, but fir you older members of this site, whose knowledge may be based on what you learned at school ( though you may have studied the subject further since) your knowledge will be more out of date than mine, new sources if evidence are being unveiled all the time, we have access to techniques that our predecessors didn't again expanding the detail and knowledge of the period.

Do in summary, and putting on my tutors cap,

F for use of evidence and sources
F for composition
F overall
 
Last edited:
Do in summary, and putting on my tutors cap,

F for use of evidence and sources
F for composition
F overall

F for spelling as well chief :-D
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer

Sixty

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
Genuine lol there

BTW @Dashing_Chap Sixty has changed his moniker, he now lords it over us with the grandiose title of @Archduke Charles

I do the later Roman Republic rather than the Principate but have a reasonable working knowledge of the first three centuries AD. Will have a look tomorrow at the wider thread although from what I've seen thus far, too many people are placing faith in the Historia Augusta which most classicists just point at and laugh.
 

4(T)

LE
Were "Romans of North African origin" all black/negroid Africans, or were many/most of them in turn descended from various Mediterranean Caucasian groups? Undoubtedly there were plenty of "black" Africans in the Roman cities, armies and general population, but presumably much of North Africa at that time consisted of colonies from European or Arab geographical areas. E.g. what did the Carthaginians actually look like? IIRC carvings and frescoes depict them as resembling contemporary Romans or Greeks.

It must be quite hard to determine population profiles in Saharan Africa, given the movements in populations and the changes in environment over two millennia. I remember looking at some fairly ancient frescoes on one of the "churches" in Sudan (sadly I don't recall where, or what provenance), and it was a bit spooky because the depicted people were non-black, the ghosts of an entirely different population. Perhaps the area was an Egyptian province at the time.
 
I assume my chronologicallly challenged friend that this post is a response to mine. May I applaud your excellent rebutted of mine by your linking to an article that mentions Romans only once, in the opening paragraph and then never again.

The article then goes on to state that



Since Rome and her Legions withdrew from Britain in 410/411, and the Anglo-Saxons rocked after that, the essay probes nothing at all.

Now the cartoon is of a Roman family, prior to 212 Roman citizenship had been conferred on a selective basis, particular rulers, and other important political figures and those who had completed military service, after 212 it was opened to all except slaves and former slaves.

Anyway back to the Roman thing, the important word being Roman, not Romano-British or indigenous, the father is also I'm military dress, the Romans had this rather sensible policy of not posting native soldiers in their home countries, a Briton in the Legions or Auxiliaries would be away in Germany, Hispania, North Africa or another far flung part of the Empire.

Right, we also have historical and archaeological evidence of African soldier, slaves and fancy pants nobs living and dying in Britain

In 1934, they found a stone that commemorated a North African Legion in Beaumont, Cumbria

Cumbrian church site identified as first African settlement in Britain | The Diocese of Carlisle

We also had a North African Governor, this chappy

Quintus Lollius Urbicus - Wikipedia

Again there is both Historical written evidence of his rule, and archaeological evidence in the form of commerative stones.

Another example is this chap

Clodius Albinus - Wikipedia

What about Dna and genetics, well these articles cover that quite well

Caitlin Green: A note on the evidence for African migrants in Britain from the Bronze Age to the medieval period

There are also links within that post to others on the textual and archaeological evidence too. But a significant point from Caitlin Green's blog is this of the Roman Period sites where isotopic analysis has been 47% had evidence of individuals with North African heritage.

If Mary Beard is right, what's happened to the DNA of Africans from Roman Britain?

This blog, by Classicist Dr Matthew Nicholson, covers the Mary Beard/BBC debate

Connecting Research: The Forum · How diverse was Roman Britain?

On the points of it being an "agenda" as @Dashing_Chap and @HSF have suggested, sigh, seriously guys, it's nothing if the sort.

Diversitas et Multiculturalismus

I graduated from Edinburgh Uni in 2001, with an Masters in History, I also studied Archaeology as my outside subjects. In those 16 years since both scholarship and techniques have moved on, it's sometimes hard to keep up, but fir you older members of this site, whose knowledge may be based on what you learned at school ( though you may have studied the subject further since) your knowledge will be more out of date than mine, new sources if evidence are being unveiled all the time, we have access to techniques that our predecessors didn't again expanding the detail and knowledge of the period.

Do in summary, and putting on my tutors cap,

F for use of evidence and sources
F for composition
F overall
I bow to your undoubtedly extensive knowledge but what ulis the bottom line?
Lots of black people in Roman Britain or just the odd one or two high placed Uncle Toms?
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Were "Romans of North African origin" all black/negroid Africans, or were many/most of them in turn descended from various Mediterranean Caucasian groups? Undoubtedly there were plenty of "black" Africans in the Roman cities, armies and general population, but presumably much of North Africa at that time consisted of colonies from European or Arab geographical areas. E.g. what did the Carthaginians actually look like? IIRC carvings and frescoes depict them as resembling contemporary Romans or Greeks.

It must be quite hard to determine population profiles in Saharan Africa, given the movements in populations and the changes in environment over two millennia. I remember looking at some fairly ancient frescoes on one of the "churches" in Sudan (sadly I don't recall where, or what provenance), and it was a bit spooky because the depicted people were non-black, the ghosts of an entirely different population. Perhaps the area was an Egyptian province at the time.

Isotopic analysis is one of the methods that can supplement that
If you take a look at the Caitlin Green link in my earlier but one post it goes into some detail, there are also embedded links within the text that will provide further information
 

Sixty

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
there were a number of African origin military leaders in the Britannia based Legions (Septimius Severus, the Libyan Emperor, being the most famous - he died in York) and a fair few African origin skeletons have been found from the Roman era.

We're quite lucky in having painted panels of Severus and he is noticeably darker than his wife (herself of Syrian origin) along with their sons Caracalla and Geta (whose picture has been wiped after he suffered Damnatio Memoriae following his murder).
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I bow to your undoubtedly extensive knowledge but what ulis the bottom line?
Lots of black people in Roman Britain or just the odd one or two high placed Uncle Toms?

A minority in an overlaid minority ruling, military and slave classes. Not a massive number but a common enough in that in urban and military centres to be unremarkable
 
A minority in an overlaid minority ruling, military and slave classes. Not a massive number but a common enough in that in urban and military centres to be unremarkable
Thank you.

What about say 1000 years after the end of Rome?
1400 in rural Britain, would anyone have the first clue about black people??
 

Sixty

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
1400 in rural Britain, would anyone have the first clue about black people??

Very beginning of the 15th century? Probably not outside a very rarefied few. By the end of the 15th, likely a bit more but again, in the upper stratum of society only. There are certainly iconographic depictions but the chances of a rural/pastoral worker seeing those would be hugely slim.
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Thank you.

What about say 1000 years after the end of Rome?
1400 in rural Britain, would anyone have the first clue about black people??

Certainly those with Crusading experience would have encountered dark skinned Moors and Saracens, will have to check but there has been a couple of period burials of Africans found in Britain, the Caitlin Green link shows some isotopic evidence too. Though the Roman Period was a major peak in African British inhabitants that would not be seen again until the Atlantic Slave Trade and today.
 

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