Here’s the definition of “ethnicity” that has been used for 2500 years, since the days of Herodotus. [Plain text under the image].

The image also includes a nice story from Herodotus: The Athenians explain to the Spartans that all of the gold in the world couldn’t bribe them into betraying their Greek kinsmen by allying with the invading Persians.

What is an “Ethnic Group?”

Ethnicity is both a biological and cultural classification. The defining characteristics of an ‘ethnic group’ were first described by Herodotus[1] in the 5th Century BC as a people united by…

  • the same blood (ομόαιμον, homόaimon)
  • the same language (ὁμόγλωσσον, homoglōsson)
  • the same culture (ὁμότροπον, homόtropon)

The Ancient Greek term ἔθνος (ethnos) is cognate with Latin natio; both translate to “tribe, family, nation, race.”

[1] Herodotus, Histories, 425 BC, Book 8 Ch. 144;- The Athenians explain to the Spartans that there is not enough “gold anywhere in the world” to bribe them into betraying “the Grecian race” by allying with the invading Persians to “enslave Greece.” They cite shared Greek blood, language, gods, and customs as “powerful considerations” that forbid them from doing so.