1. Abstract
  2. Defining ‘Racism’
  3. Introduction
  4. Racism in Greco-Roman society
    4.1 Aristotelian Biology: The proto-taxonomy of ancient Greece
    4.2 Europe as both Racial and Geographic
    4.3 Racist stereotyping and environmental determinism
    4.4 Ethnic and racial kinship
    4.5 Heritability of behavioral and physical characteristics
    4.6 Purity of lineage and opposition to miscegenation
    4.7 Judging and classifying by skin color
    4.8 Disproportionate racism towards non-Europeans
    4.9 Natural hierarchy and supremacism
  5. Conclusion

1. Abstract

This article debunks the common myths that the ancient Greeks and Romans “did not see race,” did not “judge by skin color,” and were not “racially prejudiced” — as is so often claimed by Left-Wing academics. It will demonstrate, via a multitude of mainstream primary sources, that the ancient Greeks and Romans* were not only racially aware and racially prejudiced, but that they believed racial and ethnic groups possessed immutable characteristics, judged by skin color (and other phenotypes), championed early proto-Darwinist arguments, and praised ethnic or racial “purity” while disparaging miscegenation. Greco-Roman elites were often systemic and rational in their attitudes towards race and ethnicity but always consistently “bigoted” — far more so than any Western society today. Contrary to the claims of Left-Wing historical revisionists, they were, by no means, race-blind, pro-“diversity,” or lovers of multi-culturalism. Greco-Roman society was the foundation of “scientific racism.”

* Ethnic Italians or Roman citizens, rather than their imperial subjects.

2. Defining ‘Racism’

The below definition is based on those of the Merriam-Webster, Oxford, and Google dictionaries.

‘Racism’ may be any of the following:

  • The belief that distinct racial and ethnic groups exist.
  • The belief that different racial and ethnic groups possess generalized characteristics typical to their group (e.g. behavior or appearance) that distinguish them from other racial or ethnic groups.
  • The negative treatment of individuals or groups on the basis of their perceived race or ethnicity, or the characteristics stereotypically attributed to their perceived race or ethnicity.

In scientific studies, “racism” is often defined as ‘ethnocentrism’, ‘in-group preference’, or ‘out-group hostility.’

3. Introduction

According to Globalists, the concept of race was fabricated during the 18th century by evil European colonialists who, for some reason, needed a convoluted scientific excuse to justify their imperial conquests and domination of non-European peoples. Globalists argue that “racism” — i.e. the act of classifying humanity into distinct biological groups and treating them as such — is an “ideology” or an “unnatural, learned behavior,” that is drilled into the minds of innocent, young children by the omnipotent force of “White supremacy.”

Naturally, humans had no concept of race or ethnicity until they were invented by nasty White people during the 18th century. Race- and ethnicity-based oppression, persecution, and exploitation simply did not exist. Nobody was pre-judged or discriminated against due to their ethnic origin or appearance. In fact, no attention was paid to skin color, eye color, hair color, or any other notable phenotypic characteristics. The entire world was one big happy, progressive family — or so these lunatics would have you believe.

The insane myth that ‘race’ and ‘racism’ are modern inventions can be debunked by studying almost any pre-modern civilization. There is copious written and archaeological evidence that humans have always racially and ethnically categorized one another in some shape or form, just as we have always categorized plants, animals, landscapes, and so on. Although this categorization was not always conducted in the precise and systematic manner that it is today, the fact that humans are natural-born categorizers cannot be denied.

The practice of cataloging and dividing humanity into distinct tribal, ethnic, or racial groups dates back to the beginning of recorded history; see the Egyptian Book of Gates (1500 BC), for example. Ancient civilizations, from Rome to China, produced lengthy ethnographic texts, comparing and contrasting the behaviors and appearances of the various peoples they encountered throughout the world. These include Herodotus’ Histories (430 BC), Sima Qian’s Records of the Grand Historian (94 BC), and Pliny’s Natural History (77 AD).

Even beyond the human world, we see classic “racist” behavior among almost all group-living animal species, most of which are fiercely territorial and highly in-group-centric. Some species have been known to wage extensive wars against neighboring tribes. See, for example, the Gombe chimp war.

In reality, the concept of “racism” — the very idea that it is somehow morally evil to scientifically categorize humans — is incredibly modern. It was pioneered at the beginning of the 20th century, primarily by Left-Wing, Globalist ideologues (e.g. Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin), who aimed to establish a borderless, one-world government, which would abolish all nations, religions, private property, and the family. [See also: World Revolution]. The concept of “racism” only rose to prominence after the 1960s. It was neither normalized nor widely accepted throughout the West until the 1990s or even the 2000s.

4. Racism in Greco-Roman society

There are so many primary sources that support this article’s hypothesis that it would require a novella-length essay to feature them all. The citations below barely scratch the surface of this vast topic but, hopefully, they can at least provide a basic introduction.

4.1 Aristotelian Biology: The proto-taxonomy of ancient Greece

Although naming and classifying our surroundings has taken place since the dawn of communication (“don’t eat those berries, they’re poisonous”), the roots of zoology, taxonomy, and the science of classifying organisms can be traced back to Ancient Greece.

During the 4th Century BC, Aristotle recorded and categorized the attributes of countless species, producing an incredible breadth of work. In ‘Historia Animalium’ (“The History of Animals,” 322 BC), Aristotle established that organisms can be recognized as “groups” when all members possess the same set of distinguishing features. For example, all birds have the universal characteristics of wings, beaks, feathers, and so on. This was the first scientific definition of species or race.

Aristotle’s taxonomy placed organisms in a hierarchical ranking system, based on their physical and behavioral characteristics. Animals were ranked above plants, based on their ability to move and sense; live birth was ranked above egg-laying; and warm-blooded animals above ‘bloodless’ invertebrates. He concluded that Plants had a vegetative soul, animals a sensitive soul, and man a rational soul.

Aristotle’s methods of classification were used throughout the Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern periods in Europe. Many of his distinctions, such as vertebrate and invertebrate, are still in use to this day. It was not until the Early Modern period that European taxonomy was advanced or original enough to replace the works of Aristotle.

Below: The modern taxonomic system, developed by Carl Linnaeus in the late 18th century.

4.2 Europe as both Racial and Geographic

The concept of Europe as a distinct bio-geographic region dates back thousands of years and appears to have been conceived in the Greco-Roman world. In the 6th Century BC, Greek geographers Hecataeus and Anaximander established the boundary of the continent as the Caucasus mountains. In the 5th Century BC, Herodotus stated that the world was divided into three parts, Europe, Asia, and Libya (Africa). He revised the eastern boundary between Europe and Asia to be the River Don, a convention that was followed by later Roman geographers, such as the Roman-born Greek Geographer, Strabo.

Around the same time period, Greek intellectuals were already making sweeping generalized analyses of the populations of Europe and Asia, implying or stating outright that they belonged to larger population groups or “races” (see quotes in following section).

The Greek Attic orator, Lysias, provides a very clear example of what could be described as early ‘racial thought’ (or ‘racial consciousness’) when he described the Persian invasion of his homeland not as a war between Greeks and Persians, but between two continents; Asia and Europe. His sentiments were echoed by many other Greek authors, such as Isocrates.

“For the King of Asia, not content with the wealth that he had already, but hoping to enslave Europe as well”
— Funeral Oration, Lysias (392 BC)

It should be noted that the conception of Europeans as a “race” (or a related group of peoples, at the very least) can also be found in the Jewish ‘Book of Jubilees.’ It stated that the world had been divided into three continents, gifted to the three “sons of Noah,” representing the three races of the world, as known to the Israelites: Japhethites (Europeans), Semites (Middle Easterners), Hamites (Africans). This interpretation is derived from the Table of Nations featured in the Torah’s ‘Book of Genesis’ (5th to 4th Century BC).

4.3 Racist stereotyping and environmental determinism

Alongside stereotyping individual ethnic groups, many Greco-Roman thinkers compared and contrasted the overarching characteristics of the European and Asian races. Although they did not use the modern term “White Race” (‘White’ is synonymous with ‘European’), it appears that they conceived of Europeans as one large ethnic or racial collective, as with Asians.

Greco-Roman thinkers did not merely observe and record these racial differences, they also sought to explain their origins. This led to the development of a prototypical form of evolutionary theory: Environmental determinism. They concluded that an organism’s innate characteristics were, through various forces, defined by its native environment. In the words of Hippocrates: “the forms and dispositions of mankind correspond with the nature of the country.” Essentially, these theories described the impact of environment upon evolution, without acknowledging the process of evolution itself.

Some Leftists claim that environmental determinism played a pivotal role in the process leading towards the so-called “ideology of racism.” This may be true, in the sense that it was a step towards modern “scientific racism,” the belief that human racial groups evolved due to environmental adaptation and geographic separation.

Aristotle compares the European race to the Asian, stating that environmental differences cause their behavioral differences:

“Now, let’s discuss the innate characters of that population. One could potentially learn this from observing the most famous cities among the Greeks and how the rest of the inhabited world is divided up among the various peoples. The peoples living in cold climates and Europe are full of courage but lack intelligence and skill. The result is a state of continual freedom but a lack of political organization and ability to rule over others. The peoples of Asia, however, are intelligent and skilled, but cowardly. Thus, they are in a perpetual state of subjection and enslavement. The races of the Greeks are geographically in between Asia and Europe. They also are “in between” character-wise sharing attributes of both—they are intelligent and courageous. The result is a continually free people, the best political system, and the ability to rule over others (if they happen to unify under a single constitution).”
— Politics 1327b, Aristotle (4th Century BC)

Likewise, the Greek physician Hippocrates states that environmental differences cause the physical differences between Europeans and Asians:

“This is why I think the physiques of Europeans show more variety than those of Asians and why their stature changes even from city to city. The thickened seed is more prone to flaws and irregularities when the seasons change more frequently than when they remain constant. The same logic holds for character. In such inconsistent environments, savagery, anti-social attitudes and boldness tend to arise. The frequent shocks to the mind make for wildness and impair the development of civilized and gentle behaviors. This is why I think those living in Europe are more courageous than those in Asia. Laziness is a product of uniform climate. Endurance of both the body and soul comes from change.”
— On Airs, Waters, Places, Hippocratic Corpus (4th to 5th Century BC)

The Roman philosopher Cicero states that the various ethnic/racial groups of the world have distinct phenotypes, which are likely attributed to their environment:

“What about the different environments? Don’t they produce dissimilar men? Such differences are indeed easy to list—the differences, for example, of body and character among the Indians, Persians, Ethiopians and Syrians. There is unbelievable variety and differentiation. These differences prove the environmental situation has more influence on birth than the moon’s state.”
— On Divination, Cicero (1st Century BC)

Roman Emperor Julian engages in similar racist stereotyping with regards to the character and behaviors of various ethnic/racial groups:

“Come, tell me why it is that the Celts and the Germans are fierce, while the Hellenes and Romans are, generally speaking, inclined to political life and humane, though at the same time unyielding and warlike? Why the Egyptians are more intelligent and more given to crafts, and the Syrians unwarlike and effeminate, but at the same time intelligent, hot-tempered, vain and quick to learn? […] As for men’s laws, it is evident that men have established them to correspond with their own natural dispositions; that is to say, constitutional and humane laws were established by those in whom a humane disposition had been fostered above all else, savage and inhuman laws by those in whom there lurked and was inherent the contrary disposition.”
Against The Galileans, Julian (361 to 363 AD)

4.4 Ethnic and racial kinship

A brief look into ancient Greco-Roman vocabulary tells us a great deal about their conceptions of race and ethnicity. Their terms ‘γένος’ (‘genos’) and ‘genus’ denote shared genetic origin or descent and directly translate to “race, kind, stock, kin, family.” These words are ultimately derived from the Proto-Indo-European ‘ǵenh₁-’ and ‘ǵénh₁tis,’ meaning “to give birth, beget, produce.”

In the 5th Century BC, Herodotus defined the innate characteristics of an ethnic group (ethnos/ἔθνος, “folk, people, nation, ethnic group”) as biological kinship, combined with shared language, culture, and customs:

  • ὁμόαιμον, homόaimon, “of the same blood”
  • ὁμόγλωσσον, homoglōsson, “speaking the same language”
  • ὁμότροπον, homόtropon, “of the same habits”

The modern term ‘nation’ stems directly from the Latin cognates of ethnos: ‘Natio’ and ‘nationem,’ meaning “birth, origin, breed, stock, species; race of people, tribe.”

Herodotus acknowledged that the Athenians were the ethnic/racial kin of the Greeks:

“It would not be fitting for the Athenians to prove traitors to the Greeks with whom we are united in sharing the same kinship and language, together with whom we have established shrines and conduct sacrifices to the gods, and with whom we also share the same mode of life.”

As did Plato:

“I say that the Greek people is its own and akin, but is strange and foreign to barbarians […] when Greeks do battle with barbarians or barbarians with Greeks, we shall say that they are natural enemies and that such hostilities are to be called war. But when Greeks fight with Greeks, we shall say that they are natural friends and that in such circumstances Greece is sick and divided into factions and that such hostilities are to be called civil war”
— Republic, Plato (375 BC)

Similarly, the Greek philosopher Gorgias argued that “[Greek] triumphs gained over barbarians demand victory hymns, those over Greeks demand dirges [(funeral hymns)].”

In the 4th Century BC, Aristotle claimed that ‘philia’ (φιλία, roughly translating to “brotherly love”) was felt mutually by members of the same race, just as a parent feels for its offspring:

“[the] parent seems by nature to feel [philia] for offspring and offspring for parent … [philia] is felt mutually by members of the same race”
— Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle (340 BC)

This concept aligns with the modern notions of ‘ethnocentrism’ and racial in-group preference.

The Greek term for ‘indigenous’ (“autochthones,” αυτόχθονες) literally translates to “those who sprung from the earth itself” (autos αὐτός “self” + chthon χθών “soil”), but is more loosely defined as ‘an individual who was born and lives in the place of their ancestors.’ This idea was influential on Greek politics, particularly their conceptions of citizenship and nationalism. Athenian citizenship, for example, was ethnic-based and excluded all immigrants and non-Athenians (as well as women, children, and slaves).

“If anyone attacks the land in which they live, they must plan on its behalf and defend it as their mother and nurse and think of the other citizens as their earthborn brothers”
— Republic, Plato (375 BC)

Even this cursory, surface-level investigation proves that the ancient Greeks had a clear conception of ethnicity / nationality and complex ideas on genealogy, in-group preference, and the relationship between blood, language, and culture.

In all varieties of Roman literature, non-ethnic-Italian subjects of the Roman empire were continually described as foreigners – even if they were citizens of Rome. There is evidence that this continued into the 4th Century AD, approaching the collapse of Western Rome when many non-European peoples resided within Italy itself. Evidence also suggests that even non-Italians at the highest echelons of Roman society were viewed as foreigners:

“He [Emperor Severus Alexander] preferred it to be thought that he derived his descent from the Roman people, for he was ashamed at being called a Syrian”
Historia Augusta, Author Disputed (4th Century AD)

Similarly, Emperor Julian was verbally derided as an “Asiatic” and a “Greekling” by Roman soldiers in Gaul. He was born in Constantinople (modern-day Turkey) and ethnically and culturally Greek. Despite the fact that Asia had been under Roman control since 133 BC, over four centuries earlier, ‘Asians’ remained a foreign peoples and to be called an ‘Asiatic’ was a huge insult (for reasons that will be covered later).

“the soldiers, after using up what they carried, could find no food anywhere; and resorting to outrageous threats, they assailed Julian with foul names and opprobrious language, calling him an Asiatic, a Greekling and a deceiver, and a fool with a show of wisdom.”
Rerum Gestarum, Ammianus Marcellinus (4th Century BC).

Finally, with regards to Greek and Roman kinship, the relationship between the two can be roughly summarized as follows:

  • Romans respected and admired the ancient Greeks, acknowledging that Rome was indebted to them in terms of culture and knowledge. They had mixed feelings on contemporary Greeks, who they occasionally blamed for bringing eastern degeneracy into Rome. However, they did hold Greeks in higher regard than all other foreign peoples they encountered.
  • Greeks regarded everyone who wasn’t a Greek to be a savage, uncivilized barbarian, including the Romans. It should also be noted that Hellenized populations outside of the Greek mainland were looked down upon by ethnic Greeks, including ‘Asiatic Greeks’ of Anatolia (Turkey).

4.5 Heritability of behavioral and physical characteristics

The concept of heritability was generally accepted in Greco-Roman society, and explicitly theorized in numerous influential works, including those of Hippocrates, Aristotle, Strabo, and Pliny.

In Naturalis Historia (77 AD), Roman historian Pliny the Elder claims that:

“it is also well known that […] deformed parents […] may have children with […] the same deformity, that some marks and moles and even scars reappear in the offspring, in some cases a birthmark on the arm reappearing in the fourth generation.”

Strabo, likewise, argues that:

“already in the womb children, by seminal communication, become like their parents.”
— Geographica, Book XV: On India, Strabo (1st Century BC to 1st Century AD)

4.6 Purity of lineage and opposition to miscegenation

The Athenians, like many ancient Greeks, placed huge importance on the “purity” and nobility of their lineage:

“We did not became dwellers in this land by driving others out of it, nor by finding it uninhabited, nor by coming together here a motley horde composed of many races; but we are of a lineage so noble and so pure that throughout our history we have continued in possession of the very land which gave us birth, since we are sprung from its very soil and are able to address our city by the very names which we apply to our nearest kin; for we alone of all the Hellenes have the right to call our city at once nurse and fatherland and mother.”
— Panegyricus, Isocrates (380 BC)

In Plato’s Menexenes (4th Century BC), Socrates explains the Athenian hatred of barbarians by claiming that Athenians…

“are pure-blooded Greeks, unadulterated by barbarian stock.”

This attitude towards racial or ethnic mixing was also held by the Romans — directly contrasting modern historical revisionism that attempts to paint Romans as race- or ethnicity-blind Globalists. When referring to Celts who had moved from Europe to Anatolia, the Roman historian Livy claimed that:

“These [Celtic units] are now degenerate, of mixed stock and really Gallogrecians, as they are called; just as in the case of crops and animals, the seeds are not as good in preserving their natural quality as the character of the soil and the climate in which they grow have the power to change it.”

In ‘The Epitome of Roman History,’ based on the works of Livy, Florus later paraphrased “mixed and degenerate” as ‘mixta et adulterata’ (“mixed and impure, bastards”).

Roman historian Tacitus described the Germans as: “indigenous, and not mixed at all with other peoples through immigration or intercourse” (Germania, 98 AD), which he regarded as one of their strengths (alongside their fearsome warrior culture, which was respected by the Romans).

Romans, in general, believed that racial or ethnic groups became “degenerated” by living outside of their natural habitats. They did not believe, for example, that a Roman could thrive in a Middle Eastern desert, or that an Ethiopian could adapt to living in wintery Scythia. This environmentally deterministic mode of thought can be viewed as a forerunner of “Blood and Soil” theories of nationalism, whereby specific peoples are bound to specific habitats and territories.

“The Macedonians who rule Alexandria in Egypt, who rule Seleucia and Babylon and other colonies spread all over the world, have degenerated into Syrians, Parthians and Egyptians […] whatever grows in its own soil, prospers better; transplanted to alien soil, it changes and it degenerates to conform to the soil which feeds it. […] You, by Hercules, being men of Mars, must take care and escape as quickly as possible from the amenities of Asia: such power have these foreign pleasures to smother vigour of character; so powerful is the impact of contact with the way of life and customs of the natives.”
History of Rome, Livy (9 BC)

It should be noted that both Greeks and Romans (particularly the Romans) had virulent disdain for Middle Eastern peoples that went far beyond their general distaste for barbarians. This is covered in section 4.8.

4.7 Judging and classifying by skin color

Contrary to the claims of deranged Leftist ideologues, designating racial groups by skin color (the most pronounced human physical characteristic) was not uncommon in the ancient world, particularly in the Middle East, a historic point of racial convergence.

Aristotle’s ‘Physiognomica,’ a guide to the science of judging a book by its cover, makes numerous references to racial characteristics based on skin color. However, he also judges individual characteristics based on skin-color — i.e., people with red-tinted complexions are wily, like foxes.

“Too black a hue marks the coward; witness Egyptians and Ethiopians […] Those whose eyes are excessively black are cowardly […] Those with very woolly hair are cowardly; this applies to the Ethiopians”
— Physiognomica, Aristotle (300 BC)

The name ‘Ethiopia’ etymologically stems from the Greek ‘Αἰθιοπία’ / ‘Aithiops’ a compound word, derived from ‘αἴθω, aitho’ (“I burn”) and ‘ὤψ, ops’ (“face”), directly translating to “burnt-face.” Evidently, the Greeks believed that the Africans’ dark complexion was significant enough to name their entire country after it — “Land of the Burnt Faces.”

Strabo contrasted the appearance of the Ethiopians with that of the Indians, stating that they “do not have woolly hair and that their skin is not so mercilessly burnt.” His use of the word “mercilessly” implies that he may have viewed dark complexions as some sort of affliction.

The Roman Emperor Septimius Severus, who was half Punic, half Italian, and born in Roman Africa, was once startled by an Ethiopian soldier’s dark pigmentation:

“After inspecting the wall near the rampart in Britain… just as he [Serverus] was wondering what omen would present itself, [he was met by] an Ethiopian from a military unit […] Severus in a rage order that the man be removed from his sight, troubled as he was by the man’s ominous color”
— Historia Augusta, Authorship Disputed (4th Century AD)

In his work ‘The Muqaddimah,’ (1377) the Arabic historian Ibn Khaldun observed that while the Romans saw the dark pigmentation of the Africans as a remarkable, defining feature, they did not designate northern barbarians (Germanics, Scythians, etc.) by their skin color. He believed that this was because the pigmentation of the Northern Barbarians was “something usual and common to them,” i.e., not unusual to the Romans. Khaldun also observed that pigmentation was related to climate, stating that black skin was caused by intense heat and white by intense cold. Hippocrates made a similar observation with regards to the “ruddy” complexion (red-tinted, pale, Anglo-like skin) of the Scythians, stating that their white skin turned ruddy due to the cold weather of their territories:

“Scythians are a ruddy race because of the cold, not through any fierceness in the sun’s heat. It is the cold that burns their white skin and turns it ruddy.”
— On Airs, Waters, Places, Hippocratic Corpus (4th to 5th Century BC)

The Romans also described the Scythians as being white-skinned and the Ethiopians as black:

“[T]he Ethiopian’s son black, but the Scythian white-skinned and with hair of a golden tinge.”
— Gregory Of Nyssa, Roman Bishop (4th Century AD)

Furthermore, the ancient Roman proverb “to wash an Ethiopian white” (which was used in a non-racially-hostile, matter-of-fact manner to describe futile labors or the unchangeability of nature), indicates that they believed that the physical characteristics of races or ethnic groups were innate and immutable.

4.8 Disproportionate racism towards non-Europeans

Although the Romans and Greeks stereotyped and prejudged every ethnic group they encountered, they appeared to have had significantly lower opinions of those outside of Europe. Greco-Roman racism towards North Africans and Middle Easterners was deep-seated, and particularly venomous towards the latter.

Negative stereotypes of the Middle East can be traced back as far as the 8th Century BC. Homer’s Odyssey described the Phoenicians (also known as ‘Punics,’ the Canaanite peoples who founded the Carthaginian Empire, which spanned the entirety of the North African coast), as eternally deceitful merchants. Homer replaces their respectful epithet polydaidaloi (“of many skills”) with polypaipaloi (“of many tricks”). They kidnap children, corrupt women, and lure merchants on false voyages to sell them into slavery.

Roman attitude towards the Punics was even more unforgiving. They were regarded as the most treacherous of all races and the Romans would stop at nothing to completely obliterate their empire. Cato the Elder famously ended every Senate speech with “Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam” (“And furthermore, I think that Carthage must be destroyed”). The common Roman proverb ‘Punic fides’ (“Punic Faith,” see: Cicero, Livy, Lucan, etc.) implied that they were religiously devoted to nefarious activities. The Punics’ reputation as a race of two-faced swindlers was later handed down to successive Levantine populations, such as the Jews and the Lebanese. Likewise, the Punic fides was levied against the Punics’ North African descendants long after the fall of Carthage.

The Romans appear to have held the ‘Syrians’ (a moniker that they seemingly used for both Syrians-proper and Middle Easterners in general) in the utmost contempt. They were viewed as being feeble, servile, and degenerate, but also pompous and decadent. Manlius Acilius contrasts the higher grade of European warriors to those of the Middle East, claiming that the ‘Syrians’ were born for slavery:

“that hostile army was both larger in number and composed of a somewhat better grade of soldiers; there, as you know, were Macedonians and Thracians and Illyrians, all most warlike nations, here Syrians and Asiatic Greeks, the most worthless peoples among mankind and born for slavery.”
— Manlius Acilius (191 BC, Quoted by Livy)

The idea that rival ethnic groups were “born for slavery” was a common view among Greeks and Romans:

“the forces of King Antiochus, about which there has been so much bragging a little while ago; the different kinds of weapons, the many names of unheard-of peoples, Dahae and Medes and Cadusians and Elymaeans — these were all Syrians, far better fitted to be slaves, on account of their servile dispositions, than to be a race of warriors” — Consul Quinctius (192 BC, Quoted by Livy)

“[Gabinius, Roman governor of Syria] handed [the revenue-farmers] over as slaves to Jews and Syrians, themselves peoples born to be slaves.”
On the Consular Provinces, Cicero (56 BC)

“The peoples of Asia, in turn, are more servile than those of Europe […] they will therefore tolerate despotic rule without any complaint”
Politics, Aristotle (4th Century BC)

Just as the Romans believed that ethnic groups became degenerated by living within foreign habitats and among foreign peoples, they feared that the importation of foreign peoples and cultures would lead to the same degeneration. The conquered were weak and debased, so to import their people and customs into your own land would surely infect it with weakness and debauchery:

“To abandon the habits of the victors and to imitate those of the conquered […] is surely an incontestable error.”
Histories, Polybius (2nd Century BC)

Many influential Romans regarded the influx of Middle Eastern people and culture as a significant moral pollutant and a major cause of Roman decline:

“It was the conquest of Asia that first introduced luxury into Italy […] receiving Asia also as a gift dealt a much more serious blow to our morals”
Naturalis Historia, Pliny the Elder (77 AD)

“It was the conquest of Syria which first corrupted us, [Rome became] engulfed in its own vices as in a common sewer.”
Epitome of Roman History, Florus (1st Century BC)

“Luxury, more deadly than any foe, has laid her hand upon us, and avenges a conquered world […] Filthy lucre first brought in amongst us foreign ways”
Satires, Juvenal (2nd Century AD)

“the customs of this accursed people [the Jews] have gained such influence that they are now received throughout all the world. The vanquished have given laws to their victors.”
On Superstition, Seneca (1st Century BC to AD)

Some Greek authors praised the Egyptians for refusing to adopt the customs of foreign peoples:

“the Egyptians follow their ancestral customs and adopt no foreign ones”
Histories, Herodotus (430 BC)

Romans frequently compared Middle Eastern religious rites to homosexuality and feminization. For example, circumcision was legally equated to castration by the Roman state (See: anti-castration/circumcision laws passed by Hadrian and Antoninus Pius). “Eunuch” was a common insult thrown at easterners (which included the inhabitants of Anatolia).

Roman hostility towards Jewish religious rites (and Jews themselves), was particularly extreme, becoming more radical over time. Referencing the killing of Christ, Constantine the Great referred to the Jews as a “nefarious sect” of “bloodstained men.”

According to mainstream Roman authors, Jews were…
sceleratissima gens, the “most villainous race” (Seneca);
taeterrima gens, the“most disgusting race” (Tacitus);
pernicosa gens, the “most pernicious race” (Quiltilian);
and “lower than reptiles” (Cleomedes).

They were seen as a generally antisocial people, who dwelled among the Romans, yet isolated themselves from the Roman society; loyal only to themselves and overtly hostile to others.

Although the Egyptians were widely recognized as an ancient race and civilization by Greeks and Romans alike (many of whom praised the architectural and artistic wonders of their civilization), they were not spared from any of the typical racist generalizations levied against easterners: Greed, extravagance, dishonesty, carelessness, rebelliousness, effeminacy, etc. Egyptian religious cults, in particular, were met with extreme hostility by much of the Roman elite, who regarded them as “insane” and “depraved.” When temples to Egyptian gods were privately constructed in Rome, they were promptly torn down by order of the senate.

“many monsters and beasts of every sort are held by them sacred to the gods.”
On the Republic, Cicero (54 to 51 BC)

“[Egyptians prayed to] monstrous gods of every sort”
Aeneid, Virgil (29 to 19 BC)

“Alexandrians and Egyptians (what worse or what truer name could one apply to them?), who worship reptiles and beasts as gods, who embalm their own bodies to give them the semblance of immortality, who are most reckless in effrontery but most feeble in courage and who, worst of all, are slaves to a woman and not to a man.”
Roman History, Cassius Dio (2nd to 3rd Century AD)

The contrast in how Greco-Romans viewed Europeans and non-Europeans is exemplified in ‘Of the Familiarities between Countries and the Triplicities and Stars,’ authored in the 2nd Century AD by the Roman-born Greek polymath Claudius Ptolemy. He divides the world into four quarters — Europe (including Northern Europe), North Asia (Scythia), South Asia (including Middle East), and Libya (Africa) — and attributes the racial and ethnic characteristics of their inhabitants to geography and astrology. Ptolemy spends a lengthy amount of time singing endless praises for every European ethnic group, discussing their individual quirks without disparaging a single one (“independent, liberty-loving, industrious, warlike, cleanly, magnanimous, fierce, headstrong, masterful, benevolent, cooperative” etc.).

He then turns his attention to Asia, about which he has almost nothing positive to say at all. South Asians (India, Ariana, Parthia, Media, Persia, Babylonia, Mesopotamia, etc.) are accused of being fond of luxuries and adornment, having sex in public, being incestuous with their own mothers, and generally “effeminate in dress, in adornment, and in all habits relating to the body.” India and Ariana are specifically called “ugly, unclean, and bestial.” He states that the Western Middle Easterners (Syria, Judaea, Phoenicia, Chaldaea, Arabia, etc.) are “more gifted in trade and exchange […] more unscrupulous, despicable cowards, treacherous, servile, and in general fickle.” Syrians and Judaeans are specifically accused of being “bold, godless, and scheming.”

He describes the inhabitants of Libya in an uncharacteristically positive manner (“intelligent, thoughtful, wise, humble”, etc.), though they too are accused of being incestuous.

4.9 Natural hierarchy and supremacism

Ancient Greeks and Romans had firm beliefs in a natural hierarchy or natural order, both in species of animal and races of man, whereby innately superior organisms dominated the innately inferior. The Romans in particular used this argument to justify the existence of their empire, claiming that if they were not naturally superior, they would not rule so many territories. This argument was first used by Greeks, such as Aristotle, to justify their own expansionism.

“Nature, in my opinion, herself proclaims the fact that it is right for the better to have advantage of the worse, and the abler of the feebler. It is obvious in many cases that this is so, not only in the animal world, but in the states and races, collectively, of men—that right has been decided to consist in the sway and advantage of the stronger over the weaker.”
— Gorgias, Gorgias quoted by Plato (380 BC)

“by a universal law of nature, which time cannot destroy, it is ordained that superiors shall ever govern their”
Dionysius of Halicarnassus (1st Century BC)

5. Conclusion

All evidence considered, it should be plainly obvious that the ancient Greeks and Romans were both racially/ethnically aware and racially/ethnically prejudiced. Their attitudes towards non-Greeks and non-Romans can only be described as “racist” and “supremacist.” Furthermore, they may have regarded other Europeans, such as the Germanic tribes, as uncivilized and inferior to themselves, but their contempt for non-Europeans was unparalleled. This is epitomized by the “savage, fearsome German warrior” versus “deceitful, effeminate Phoenician slave.” Both are barbarous, but for very different reasons.

Hopefully, this article has helped to expose the profound dishonesty of the Left-Wing historical revisionists who currently pollute every Classics department in the West. To claim that the ancient Greeks or Romans were unprejudiced, race-blind, diversity-loving, multiculturalists requires the complete ignorance of every major Greco-Roman author in history.