What is classical about classical civilization? In one of the most audacious works of scholarship ever written, Martin Bernal challenges the whole basis of our thinking about this question. Classical civilization he argues, has deep roots in Afroasiatic cultures. But these Afroasiatic influences have been systematically ignored, denied or supressed since the eighteenth century – chiefly for racist reasons.
According to the view in which most of us have been brought up, Greek civilization was the result of the conquest of a sophisticated but weak native population by vigorous Indo-European speakers – or Aryans – from the north. But the Classical Greeks themselves, Professor Bernal argues, knew nothing about this ‘Aryan model’;
“Although proud of themselves and their recent accomplishments, they did not see their political institutions, science, philosophy or religion as original. They derived them… from the East in general, and Egypt in particular.”
Black Athena is a three-volume work. Volume I… concentrates on the crucial period between 1785 and 1850 which saw both the Romantic and racist reaction to the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, the consolidation of Northern European expansion into other continents. These were also the decades in which new paradigms of progress and scientific positivism allowed nineteenth-century scholars to dismiss all their predecessors.
In an unprecedented tour de force, the author makes meaningful links between a wide range of areas and disciplines – drama, poetry, myth, theological controversy, esoteric religion, philosophy, biography, language, historical narrative, and the emergence of ‘modern’ scholarship.
A MUST READ FOR RASTAFARI. Shalom