The Proto-Racist Voice in Caesar and Pliny the Elder

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The Proto-Racist Voice in Caesar and Pliny the Elder
Patrick, Miriam C
University of Florida
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Many scholars posit that ancient authors did not have a racist bias because they did not discriminate based solely on race or skin color. This paper examines two prominent Roman authors, Caesar and Pliny the Elder, using the definition of proto-racism put forth by Isaac: basing discrimination and discriminatory language in geography and climate, rather than skin color. The paper utilizes history that predates these works to provide a comprehensive understanding of the work of Caesar and Pliny the Elder including Greek Art, Greek philosophical treatises, and ancient African history. This paper also compares ancient world proto-racism to examples of contemporary racism to demonstrate the differences between the two. The paper concludes that there are both overt and subtle examples of language that demonstrate proto-racist worldviews.

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2016 Miriam C. Patrick


To my parents who have always supported and en couraged to reach for my dreams


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to start by thanking my thesis advisor, Dr. Velvet Yates of the Classics Department at the University of Florida. Not only did she provide critical guidance and feedback, but she also helped me refine my ideas when I was first determining the direction of my thesis in her class on ancient slavery. Additionally, I would like to thank Dr. Mary Ann Eaverly for joining Dr. Yates to complete my review committee and for reading my paper. Her feedback was crucial to help me improve the clarity and ar gument of my paper I would also like to acknowledge my peers and professors at the University of Florida Department of Classics for providing moral support and academic guidance. I would like to thank my family for all their support and the sacrifices th ey made during this process. Finally, I would like to thank Rachel Ash for her friendship and support as a colleague, friend, and peer.


5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 6 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 7 2 DEFINING PROTO RACISM ................................ ................................ .................. 12 Skin Color ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 12 Proto Racism ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 14 The Greeks ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 19 The Romans ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 23 3 THE QUESTION OF R ACE ................................ ................................ .................... 26 Gauls, Celts, and Britons ................................ ................................ ........................ 26 Nubian vs. Aethiopian ................................ ................................ ............................. 29 4 GEOGRAPHY OF PROTO RACISM IN CAESAR AND PLINY THE ELDER ......... 35 The Gauls ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 35 The Britons ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 39 Virtus Do They Really Have It? ................................ ................................ .......... 41 The Aethiopians ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 46 If It Is Positive, Is It Still Proto racism? ................................ ................................ .... 49 5 HEREDITARY FEATURES IN CAESAR AND PLINY THE ELDER AS THEY RELATE THE GAULS AND AETHIOPIANS ................................ ........................... 51 To the North ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 52 To the South ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 55 Comparisons to Contemporary Racism ................................ ................................ .. 60 6 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 63 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................... 67 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 69


6 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts THE PROTO RACIST VOICE IN CAESAR AND PLINY THE ELDER By Miriam C. Patrick December 2016 Chair: Velvet Yates Major: Latin Many scholars posit that ancient authors did not have a racist bias because they did not discriminate based solely on race or skin color. This paper examines two racism: basi ng discrimination and discriminatory language in geography and climate, including Greek Ar t, Greek philosophical treatises, and ancient African history. This paper also compares ancient world proto racism to examples of contemporary racism to demonstrate the differences between the two. The paper concludes that there are both overt and subtle e xamples of language that demonstrate proto racist worldviews.


7 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION According to the Hippocratic treatise On Airs, Waters, and Places, there is a region where (5): For the sun in rising and shining upon them purifies them, by dispelling the resembles the spring as to moderation between heat and cold. 1 This location is situated precisely where the northern and southern regions meet, and the Greeks and Romans believed this region produced the best men. It is one that receives a perfect amount of sun, a perfect amount of wind, and whose waters flow clear and are not too hot or too cold. The land is fertile and brings forth a proper amount o f resources for the inhabitants living there. The place described is the Mediterranean, considered perfect by the ancient world. The Hippocratic treatise On Airs, Waters, and Places (hereafter AWP ) continues to describe the other locations that are to the north and south of this ideal place. Those living in infertile climates (as deemed by those living in the Mediterranean) and suffering from too much cold display strong physical features and emotionalism. Those living in infertile climates and suffering fr om too much heat display the opposite: strength in mind, but weakness in body. 2 This characterization of people based on their geography is not unique to the Hippocratic treatise and is one that is seen in other pieces of ancient literature. Such proto rac ist ideas were so 1 Trans. by Adams (1868). 2 On Airs, Waters, and Places, 3 5.


8 De Bello Gallico Naturalis Historia 3 Benjamin Isaac (2006) defines proto racism as (34): an attitude towards individuals and groups of people which posits a direct and linear connection between physical and mental qualities. It therefore attributes to those individuals and groups of people collective traits, physical, mental, and moral, which are constant and unalterable by human will, because t hey are caused by hereditary factors or external influences, such as climate or geography. This definition is clearly distinct from contemporary racism. While contemporary racism skin color as its base, proto racism uses external features and hereditary factors to explain human traits tied to observations about geography and climate, attributing these to the human populations living there. Isaac has his detractors, who focus on a perceived positivity in ancient sources. Erich S. Gruen argues that, in the De Bello Gallico virtus shows a sense of camaraderie between the Romans and the Gauls, likening the latter to the former, and suggesting that virtus exist ed for the Gauls as it did for the Romans. 4 Gauls is the use of virtus solely in battle, and never in reference to morality. While nd virtus may not be perceived as negative in tone, the fact that he does not discuss the Gauls as having virtus in multiple venues can imply a negative tone, especially in the way he uses the term for two different peoples: a 3 These ideas were in play when both the De Bello Gallico and the Naturalis Historia were written, circa 52 BCE and 77 CE, respectively. 4 Gruen (2011) 152.


9 limited use for the Gauls wit h an expanded use for the Romans. He advances this argument by demonstrating the Gallic virtus as physically savage due to their climate and weather. Caesar goes on to explain this physicality as one that is passed through the generations as a hereditary c haracteristic and one by which the Gauls can be identified. 5 void of negative voice and, therefore, void of racist views. 6 While Gruen points to a relevant piece of Pliny the biased views of races in the n orth and in the south, and, since both those with pale and dark skin features were considered lesser than the Romans, Gruen argues that the distinction is one of courage and not proto racism. 7 However, as will be discussed in reatment of the Aethiopians lends itself to the proto racist i.e., peoples that are considered foreign or alien to t he Romans. Caesar focuses on the northern peoples like the Gauls and Britons, using a militaristic voice and purpose not only to portray his expedition as good for the state and to lift his own reputation, but also 5 De Bello Gallico 1.13, 2.14. 6 Gruen (2011) 197 s understanding of the area south of Eg ypt. See discussion on pg. 27 31 7 Gruen (2011) 205.


10 to lift the Roman people up, using langua ge they understand, by pointing out attributes of the Gallic tribes, dependent upon their location and climate, key to a proto racist filter. Pliny the Elder, on the other hand, uses an ethnographic voice to rationalize his descriptions of peoples and thei r relationships to places, a voice that exemplifies proto racism. His discussion of the Aethiopians relies heavily on not only his understanding of geography and hereditary features, but also rumors and stories handed down from others scholars, Roman, Gree differences in his ethnographic writing serve as examples of proto racism as they subtly climate. In contrast to based theories of proto uses. In the second chapter of this thesis, I will examine the definition of proto racism more closely and compare and contrast it to contemporary racism. In the third chapter, I will examine the question of race itself and how it relates to the ancient worldvie w of people and geography, with special attention paid to the particular vocabulary used by each author. In the fourth chapter, I will give examples of proto racism found in both Caesar and Pliny the Elder, particularly regarding how specific geographies a ffect the virtus Gauls. In the fifth chapter, I will provide examples of how hereditary features play a role an be explained using a proto racist lens. Since modern western notions of racism are driven by skin color, the ancient authors have not been examined for racism. However, another sort of


11 racism proto racism opens the door to that possibility. This thesis aims to interpret selected works of Caesar and Pliny the Elder through the hermeneutic lens created by racism and his dialogue with Gruen.


12 CHAPTER 2 DEFINING PROTO RACISM The question of racism and the existence of race is one that has long been a writing in the early 20th century, but groups of people and nations have long had a 1 Contemporary society has esta blished an understanding of racism that is particularly related to slavery and negative bias based on skin color and non European heritage. For the purposes of this thesis, however, a different definition of racism needs to be established that takes into a ccount the point of view and the understanding of other peoples that the Romans of the late Republic and early Empire would have held. Skin C olor The use of skin color as a defining feature in regards to race is more prevalent in contemporary racism than that of proto racism. 2 While skin color was certainly noticed in the ancient world, it was discussed in a variety of ways not associated with race. 3 Instead, color differentiation in representations of skin tone was used to distinguish between men and wome to distinguish between races. 1 Isaac (2004) 1 notes that while the first written instance of the ideas of racism have roots in the early twentieth century, and contemporary scholars often use this to argue that such prejudices did not exist not rely on skin color as contemporary racism does. 2 Eaverly (2013) 34 35. 3 Eaverly (2013) 33 3 5 argues that the use of color could represent physical objects, and the symbolism of objects.


13 Eaverly points to early Egyptian examples of color differentiation used in regards to men and women. The variations of color used to represent Ancient Egyptian m en and women point to an alternative use of color, which does not equate to the modern notion of skin color as defining race. Instead, women are given a yellow color and the colors for men symbolize many things. 4 Differences in color depicts prowess and re finement among men, while a single color is given to women, depicting a relatively secluded experience of women, suggesting a symbolic meaning (each color represents a level of employment) rather than any literal physical interpretation. 5 Yates discuss es a similar use of skin color among the Greeks to differentiate between women and men. While the Egyptians give women a yellow color, the Greeks paint women without color, emphasizing a pale skin tone. 6 Whereas the Egyptian use of skin tone symbolizes gen der and the different attributes between men and women, the according to Aristotle, women were pale due to the loss of blood during the menstrual cycle. For both cultures, t he difference represented in painting is due to an observed difference between genders, not races. a way that resets racial understanding appropriate to an ancient viewpoint While skin color was not ignored and frequently appears in both art and literature, it was not a 4 Eaverly (2013) 33 outside). Women, on the other hand are given a yellow tone regardless of their status. 5 Eaverly (2013) 36 40 goes on to discuss the use of yellow to represent the duality between men and women, as well as the use of yellow to demonstrate a weakening or aging of men. 6 Yates (2015) 3 4.


14 was used as a separation of gender, and a symbolic representation of p ower and principality. Proto Racism Perceived differences in race are always formed by comparing other cultures racism uses a set of constructs other than skin color to tion of proto racism with the understanding that proto racist views make direct connections between geography and climate to the hereditary traits, morals, and temperament of certain groups of people. 7 This differs from contemporary definitions of racism i n that proto racism does not rely on a difference of skin tone. Instead, proto racism relies upon the geographical features of the land and the hereditary features presumed to be passed from generation to generation. The idea that geography is directly at Roman idea, but is instead borrowed from the Greeks. 8 Yates demonstrates that Aristotle uses these stereotypes to argue the relative compatibility of various groups of people with such ideas as power and slavery : those living in cold climates are spirited, 7 Isaac (2004) 23 def ines proto posits a direct and linear connection between physical and mental qualities. It therefore attributes to those individuals and groups of peoples collective traits, physical, me ntal, and moral which are constant and unalterable by human will, because they are caused by hereditary factors or external influences, such as believed to create strong, courageous, but not very smart people; and a mild climate was held 8 Isaac (2004) 56 th at this presence is somewhat overstated by other commentators. The example he provides, from traits.


15 but lack intelligence and skill, while those living in warm climates are intelligent, but lack spirit, and thus are naturally prone to slavery. 9 Aristotle, in turn, inherited these ideas from the Hippocratic treatise, AWP which agrees: those living in hot climates are physically weak and those living in cold climates lack emotional control. 10 W hile the Romans are clearly influenced by the Greeks i n these ideas, the Greeks did not use this perceived causal connection in a systematic way to create the subtle. Isaac points to an example in Herodotus where conquered n ations are told to from Pliny and Caesar, which are discussed in Chapters 4 and 5, this example is more e, whereas the examples on which this thesis focuses make direct connections between geography and climate and inferiority 11 Other examples can be found in the artistic displays of the ancient Greeks. As previously discussed on page 11 12, the ancients did various peoples and nations using perceived unchangeable factors, but also used these views to distinguish between men and women. McNiven discusses these distinctions as they are displayed in ancient Greek artwork. As facial expressions were avoided in artwork, gestures were heavily relied on to display the differences between groups of people. 12 Women and men were marked by their position, composition, and gesture 9 Yates (2015) 13. 10 AWP 3 4 notes that extreme heat affects the people living there through physical disease while extreme cold affects mental capacity. 11 Isaac (2004) 55 59 12 McNiven (2000) 72.


16 rather than their faces and other physical features one might expect. Similarly, young boys were displayed similar to women as they were not expected to display the traits of a Greek man at that time. 13 One specific example that McNiven points to differentiates between men and women using a supplication gesture where 14 McNiven notes that for men such a gesture was considered cowardly, but for women, it was expected. What is unique about this gesture, particularly when one applies a proto racist understanding, is that according to Greek ar t, even Amazonian women, despite their courage and manlike features, were shown giving this gesture. McNiven notes that typically Amazons were pictured as fearless fighters, dying in battle just as courageous men. However, is some cases, Amazonian women ar e pictured reaching out to their 15 DeVries gives another example in ancient Greek literature. The Phrygians occupied an area of land that was more remote than the Greeks and many of the encounters they had with the Gr eeks were through slavery. 16 Throughout Greek literature, the Phrygians are painted as a cowardly people and, Devries notes, that this generalization can be connected back to their status in Greek society. 17 For example, in both Orestes and Birds the Phrygi ans are demonstrated directly to be fearful of those in 13 McNiven (2000) 73. 14 McNiven supplication. 15 McNiven (2000) 79. 16 DeVries (2000) 339. 17 DeVries (2000) 340 341.


17 power. 18 In Orestes a Phrygian man begs for his life, while in Birds a Greek says he is not Phrygian and therefore not fearful of words. So prevalent was this viewpoint that even Strabo draws upon it 19 This particular example from Strabo shows how this stereotype carries over into perspectives on those Phrygians living in their native lands. Both of these examples are more subtle than the Roman exa mples discussed in chapters 4 and 5. Neither the example of supplication or Phrygian cowardice are connected to such factors as geography, climate, or gender outright, but rather are understood amongst the audience: through gestures to demonstrate the over all weakness of women, and attitudes towards Phrygians in writing that come through in examples of cowardice. Caesar and Pliny the Elder, however, make direct connections between geography, climate, and perceived traits regarding the Gauls and Aethiopians. While skin color does play a role in a geographical understanding of proto racism, it is not, as in contemporary situations, the crux of the argument and source of stereotypes. Instead, skin color is a result of geography and, thus, included as one of man y geographically influenced traits. The difference between skin color in proto racism and contemporary racism resides in how skin tone is used in the understanding of various groups of people. Contemporary racism ties skin color, regardless of history or g eography, to stereotypical traits and derogatory terms, while proto racism ties skin color and language surrounding skin color to geography and, through geography, to stereotypical traits. Whereas contemporary racism begins in skin color, proto racism 18 DeVries (2000) 341. 19 Ibid.


18 begi ns in geography and through it and the hereditary traits it is understood to cause proto racism can, at times, arrive at commentary on skin color. People who live in cold, em otionalism, and have fair hair and skin. People with darker skin tones, especially affects not only their skin color but their physical and mental traits (weak and st rong, respectively). 20 Other aspects of geography can also, in the view of Greek and Roman scholars, have a direct causal relationship with the traits of the people who live there. Assumptions about hereditary traits create further groups among those alread y designated weak or strong, wise or foolish by their climate. The Greeks and Romans attributed characteristics to the type of terrain people inhabited: those who live on the plateau are clever, but are physically weak and effeminate, while those who live in harsher ground conditions are physically strong, but lack the emotional constitution of others. 21 These physical traits, which have their base in geographical bias, were assumed to be hereditary traits that were passed down to offspring. This understand ing makes stereotyping and discrimination easier for the Romans by combining nature and nurture and allowing the stereotyping of an entire group with one geographical bias. 22 Isaac 20 Isaac (2004) 65. This will be discussed further in Ch apter 3. 21 Isaac (2004) 65. 22 Isaac (2004) 78 79 considers examples from Aristotle, De Semine and AWP to explain the ancient conceptually important.


19 he Romans, on the other hand, use this theory and apply it to their experiences. 23 Isaac, in demonstrating the connection between the Greek subtleties and Roman systems, draws a clear line from the long history of assumptions among the Greeks to the discuss ion in the writings of the Romans. 24 This literary and historical connection is the foundation of the argument in this thesis. The Greeks As Isaac states, proto racism divides groups of people based on their perceived superiority (or inferiority). 25 Groups of people were believed to share the same traits based on environmental theory. Essentially, outside conditions (i.e., climate and geography) were used to explain human characteristics that were then believed to be passed through generations, and w ould remain present through time. 26 The Greeks, as previously stated, made connections more subtly than the Romans, often indirectly 27 Herodotus is often credited with authoring the idea that there are critical differences between, particularly, Europe and Asia: that Europe produced people who 23 This th esis focuses on Caesar and Pliny the Elder. The theory of proto racism applies to their works and experiences, though at times differently. As will be discussed in Chapter 3 of the thesis, Caesar focuses on his own experience with the Gauls and Britons dur ing his campaigns while Pliny the Elder relies on his science and pulls from other writers and literature to create his own discussions. 24 Isaac (2004) 55 66 applies views of proto racism beginning with Herodotus, and through implicit connections in Greek tragedy before directly referencing AWP and Aristotle. 25 Isaac (2004) 56. 26 Ibid. 27 Isaac (2004) 58 59 gives an example from Herodotus who describes the Egyptians and their practices as opposite the rest of mankind, just as their environment is. This is n ot given as a direct correlation, but rather a subtle indirect comparison between the two.


20 were strong and natural leaders, while Asia pr oduced people who were weak and natural slaves. 28 the overt assumption that those living in western lands (namely Greece and Rome) were the best groups of people. 29 Rather, Herodotus makes implications between a people's geography, climate, and political atmosphere, and the features of the people living th ere, without assigning specific attributes to specific groups of people. Herodotus provides an excellent example of early Greek notions of geography and people: using environmental theory to covertly name superior and inferior peoples. The Hippocratic tr eatise AWP uses natural elements of geographical locations to explain physical traits of the people that live there. It argues that the natural elements of a location, particularly regarding the roles of the winds and waters, explain not only the physical appearance of a group of people, but also their temperaments and AWP suggests that those living in extreme heat and cold display particular traits that are unseen in areas with d ifferent kinds of winds and waters. 30 The Hippocratic treatise AWP demonstrates this in its treatment of people living further east ( AWP 16): And with regard to the pusillanimity and cowardice of the inhabitants, the principal reason the Asiatics are more unwarlike and of gentler disposition than the Europeans is, the nature of the seasons, which do not undergo any great changes either to heat or cold. This passage clearly draws on the connection between climate and perceived traits of whole group s, particularly on how the lack of change can affect a group. The passage 28 Isaac (2004) 57 58. 29 Isaac (2004) 59. 30 AWP 3 4.


21 goes on to make a connection similar to that of Herodotus: that those living in this area are considered weak and prone to slavery. 31 Another example of this understanding comes from Aristotle ( Politics 1327b): The nations of Europe are full of spirit but somewhat deficient in intelligence and skill, so that they continue comparatively free, but lacking in political organization and capacity to rule their neighbors. The peoples of Asia on the other hand are intelligent and skillful in temperament, but lack spirit, so that they are in continuous subjection and slavery. Again, this example draws on this understood connection between climate and particular traits that are assigned to whole groups. Where AWP and Politics differ from specific peoples, particularly those in power: the Greeks. 32 Even in the diseases that the treatise notes as particular to cer tain cultures, the proto racist viewpoint is plain: those who live in extreme heat are physically weaker and suffer from diseases that result from the flow of bodily fluids while those who live in extreme cold are physically sturdier but suffer from diseas es that put these people in extreme pain. 33 AWP also notes that those who live in between these places, and towards the east, are purified by the sun and are generally healthier. It argues that eastern peoples enjoy water that flows into the sun and is heal thier and more fragrant. 34 Men living towards the west, however, despite being between the north and south, still 31 AWP 16. 32 Politics 1327b. 33 According to AWP (3 4) people living in the southern, hot climates may suffer from diseases that include phlegm flowing from the head, miscarriages, and digestive issues. In contrast, people living the northern, cold climates may suffer from diseases that include a hardening of vessel s and organs, which in turn can burst painfully, rupture of the eyes, and epilepsy. 34 AWP 5.


22 suffer because they are without the winds that those in the east experience and their water is unclear. 35 The use of these examples in AWP demon strates a clear example of the proto racist view. Its conclusions regarding the peoples who live in the north, south, east, and west rely entirely upon their geography and connects it to the unchangeable traits they possess. the other nations of the world expanded, various themselves as opposed to the cultures they were encountering can even be traced through the various iterations of the tradition s and experiences of the people in question. One place where this transference of notions and ideas regarding other peoples is clear is in the Augustan era and the work of Strabo. Isaac notes that Strabo comes to environmental theory and perceived hereditary traits. 36 However, the influence of earlier Greek writers are still AWP but then adds his own elements to the conversation regarding th e balance between ruling and conquered nations. 37 Not only are conquered nations lesser in military strategy, but they are unable to coalesce into one stronger power due to their environmentally induced self y, though different from earlier writings, 35 AWP 6. 36 Isaac (2004) 91 92. 37 the wanderings of the Greeks to the barbarian peoples are caused by the circumstance that the latter had been divided into small groups and powers which, because of their self sufficiency, had no intercourse


23 lends itself to the study of proto racist viewpoints, as much as it fuel for and justification of Roman imperialism. 38 The Romans The idea of virtus c an serve as an exemplar of the application of ancient Roman bias especially when viewed through the framework of proto virtus is illustrative; he uses assumptions indicative of a proto racist understanding of the world to reinforce Roman superiority. 39 While it can be tempting to look solely at the be paid to the context within which this word is used, and the complexities, or lack thereof, when it is applied to various groups of people. Virtus has a variety of definitions based on both use and purpose. For the Romans, virtus was a complex ideal within which a dialogue of meanings was A Latin Dictionary gives the first definition as manliness and manhood, referring part icularly to both the corporeal and emotional stature of a man, including such things as strength, bravery, and virtue. When used to refer to animals and inanimate objects, virtus can take on the meanings of goodness and value 38 This idea that some cultures were lesser and deserved to be conquered (and perhaps benefited from being conquered) can even be tr aced in the language of the conquerors. One word of interesting origin is uneducated, even when used to describe people in the same group, but who are still i While the Roman usage of the Latin barbarus does include implications similar to the contemporary definition, most often the word is used to refer to foreigners in relation to the Romans or even the Romans in relation to the Greeks. W has been carried across generations and languages, though the main definiti ons have changed from an ancient worldview (other, speaker of gibberish, uncivilized) to that of the contemporary world (uncivilized, primitive, unchristian). The same relationship can be applied to the contemporary definition of racism and proto racism. 39 Discussion of virtus in Pliny the Elder is out of the scope of this thesis as the word virtus only appears twice in Naturalis Historia The first instance, in Book III, is part of a name and the second, in Book VII, refers to a specific Roman and his end eavors ( NH 3.12, 7.106).


24 or worth. A third definition d escribes moral perfection, as the Romans viewed it, and duty to the gods. The last definition refers to a very specific use of virtus namely, in reference to military talents and skills. It is this last definition, in its specificity and target usage, tha t is important to this discussion of proto racism, especially when applied to 40 This word is especially pertinent to the discussion of proto racism because of its De Bello Galli co 41 The discussion in virtus not only rounded virtus of the Romans, but even establishes yet another connection between the Gauls and their geography. Virtus distinguish his opponents as strong and worthy, and then uses it to assign them the attributes their geography determines. 42 While contem porary racism relies heavily on hereditary traits based on skin tone, these ancient examples establish notions of race in relation to geography and environment. It is only with this geographical basis that mental and physical features (such as skin tone) c ome into consideration. The Romans believed they lived in a perfect center of the world around them. They lived in a fertile land that, due to its climate and geographical features, made them not only physically strong, but emotionally superior as well. Th 40 Lewis 41 McDonnell (2009) 5. 42 See discussion in Chapter 4.


25 experiences with some Greek influence which created a uniquely Roman version of proto examples: the Aethiopians, who, while strong in mind, were considered effeminate, and the Gauls, who, while strong in physicality, were considered emotionally inferior, suffering from a lack of control.


26 CHAPTER 3 THE QUESTION OF RACE In order to properly discuss proto racism in Pliny the Elder and Caes ar, attention must be paid to the terminology each uses to describe the Aethiopians and Gauls, respectively, and it is impossible not to notice the strong ties of this terminology to the geography and environment of these particular groups of people. When one reads the various sources to which both Caesar and Pliny the Elder had access, it is clear that a variety of terms were used to understand different groups of people as well as their ethnicities, which underscores the importance and intentional nature of the terms chosen by these authors. These terms, along with the relevant history of each term, in themselves indicate proto 1 Gaul s Celts, and Britons As per the definition of proto racism established in chapter 2 of this paper, groups of people are assigned stereotypes based on their geography and hereditary features, rather than biology and lineage. This holds particularly true for the history surrounding the groups of Gaul and Britain. Contemporary society refers to these groups by their countries: French (France), English/Brit ish (England/Britain), Irish (Ireland), and Scottish (Scotland). Each group maintains its history, language, and traditions and, for many years, these locations, languages, and traditions have lent themselves to an argument that these groups of people are different and should be 1 Special attention is paid in this thesis to biological and linguistic features for the Gauls/Celts and linguistic and historical features for the Nubians/Aethiopians.


27 referred to as such. 2 Ancient society, however, did not distinguish between these races in the same way: Celts and Gauls were one race separated by terminology. This vocabulary is separated by contemporary history, but in ancient s ources the words blur together, saying more about the people who coined these terms, rather than the people whom they describe. The Greek term keltoi first appears in the sixth century BCE as a reference to an e. 3 The term is later expanded to include those living on the Danube river. 4 The Romans, however, did not adopt the Greek term, but created their own term, Galli, to refer to people from the same area. 5 While it seems obvious that Caesar would make use of the Roman term Galli both terms are used throughout history and have historical significance, so his use of the term has significance in itself. 6 linguistic and cultural history of the people living in these areas is incomplete, socio linguistic ties have been made 2 Language in particular lends itself to this argument in that the groups of Ireland, England, and Scotland are often grouped and called Celtic, while those in France are called French. According to Dietler (1994) 594 595, some a rgue that due to this there is no connection between the groups and this prevents an argument that French history can be linked to the history of the Isles. 3 Keltoi lived beyond the Ligurian peoples inhabiting t he 4 Ibid. 5 Lewis & Short (1879) 800. 6 Dietler (1994) 587 588 makes note of the French uses of the word: commoners were often referred to e common people in defiance later re adopt a love of the idea of the Gauls from its use in literature.


28 between those living on continental Europe and the British Isles. 7 This complex history has created a variety in terminology and has led to a mistaken understanding that those living in the Britis h Isles are culturally and racially distinct from those living on continental Europe. 8 Modern use of the word Celt is often used to refer to the peoples who inhabit, and have inhabited, the British Isles and Ireland. 9 Modern usage dictates a difference bet ween these people and those who live in mainland Europe, but research shows that strong linguistic similarities occur between the languages spoken in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, and those spoken by the ancients in what is now modern day France. 10 Despite these linguistic ties, the Romans made a clear distinction between these two living in Britannia, Caledonia, and Hibernia. 11 These distinctions based on geography and cus toms are easier to understand when viewed in light of the proto racist perspective of the world. Caesar does not use language or biology to distinguish between the peoples of Gaul and Britain, but rather he uses elements of geography and 7 Dietler (1994) 594 595 provides such examples as the folklore that comes from the regions of Brittany and Burgundy. Brittany, however, also maintains a political, linguistic, and social connection to its Celtic heritage. As Dietler discusses regarding Brittany, a nother connection can be made to the linguistic history given its Celtic origins. As in Ireland, Brittany has made attempts to resurrect its native Celt ic traditions and language. 8 Dietler (1994) 594 595. 9 This refers to the modern British Isles of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. 10 Dietler (1994) 585 language tied to the term in contemporary times. While this does not affect the premise of this thesis, it is interesting to note and perhaps lends itself to und erstanding how the reference changed over the years. 11 Dietler (1994) 586.


29 custom to separate these peoples. Caesar points out that the people of Britannia, Caledonia, and Hibernia are separated from those of mainland Europe by water and, it can be extrapolated, were considered divergent from those in the Mediterranean in terms of race and customs 12 Thus, the Romans did not come into contact with these separates the Britons from those living on the mainland by discussing in geographical terms a group of people who liv ed on the interior on the island. 13 As the term Galli already applied to those Celts living on mainland Europe, the Celts living on the islands were given different names, derived from the names given to their locations. 14 Nubian vs. Aethiopian The Romans and Greeks used rivers as boundaries in the areas north of the Mediterranean, so it is no surprise that they used them for the same purpose in the lands to the south of the sea. In ancient times, modern day Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia were not aligned with their contemporary political borders; instead, the area was separated according to the geography of the land. 15 Differences developed between the various groups of people who lived in the area through the outside influences of the 12 those on the mainland, little was known about those in the islands and kno wledge was exclusive to those peoples living on the coast. The lack of knowledge and the rarity (and lack) of correspondence and trade shows a lack of relationship between those on the islands and those in the mainland, with the exception of those on the c oast (with whom the only contact was established). 13 Schadee (2008) 172. Caesar also notes that customs on the mainland come from Britain. 14 Short (1879) explains that Galli, Gallorum refers specifically to the Gallic nation and the Gauls, particularly th ose past the Rhine river, as well as those in Northern Italy. Britanni, Britannorum rather, refers specifically to those living in Great Britain, the Britons, as well as those living specifically in Brittany, France. 15 First separated by cataracts (narro ws areas of water flow often broken by rocks, boulders, and cliffs), then by formal rivers, Kirwan (1974) 44 46. For our references, it might be easier to consider the land to the South and East of the Nile river as the main consideration for this discussi on, Adams (1984) 45.


30 Egyptians, Greeks, and, e ventually, the Romans. In fact, the differences, both cultural and geographical, between the lands of Nubia, Egypt, and Aethiopia are often disputed and differ depending on the author, period, and purpose. 16 Boundaries were drawn along the second, third, and fourth cataracts of the Nile during the rule of the pharaohs. These varying borders depended heavily on who was in power. The civilization that eventually arose from this area after the rule of the Egypt ians ( around 500 BCE ) lying on the Island of Meroe, is often referred to as Nubia. 17 However the Nubians were Romans. 18 The interaction between Egypt and this land just to its s outh did not end with the early withdrawal of Egyptian rulers and people. Instead, economic interests kept the Egyptians at least partially in touch with their neighbors. The period around 1880 BCE sees its first economic actions against the Aethiopian peo ples, including the Nubians, in an attempt to form a monopoly. 19 What followed was a strengthening of not only the Egyptian economy, but Egyptian culture and control in the area and later outright Egyptian colonization of the area. 20 Adams describes coloniza tion similar to the African 16 Kirwan (1974) 44 45 discusses the importance of the rise of this civilization that developed in the area directly south of Egypt through its writing system and indigenous language alongside its contact and dependence on trade from th e Graeco Roman peoples. Smith (1854) 56 57 also summarizes this, raphy as stated by Smith, it is clear that the terms Nubia and Aethiopia refer to the same area south of Egypt. 17 Kirwan (1974) 44 46 notes that while this group of people were called Nubians (presumably on account of their African language), they develope d a remarkably Egyptian culture and economy. 18 Adams (1984) 37; Kirwan (1974) 45 46. 19 Adams (1984) 48. 20 Adams (1984) 63 64.


31 colonization by Europe including a period of indoctrination of native peoples to create a more Egyptian like society. 21 Natives who had enjoyed a sense of autonomy and control previously were removed from power and groups of nati ves were subjected to labor to meet the needs of the Egyptians. 22 T hese periods of strife ultimately resulted in constantly shifting borders and differences in racial definitions, so that the terms for the people in those areas shifted based on the politica l impressions of the time. A further distinction, in addition to the geographical distinction between those in Egypt and those located to the south, lies in the physical skin color of the peoples who inhabited the area. While proto racism is not dependent upon skin color unlike cont emporary racism ancient authors still noticed and remarked on differences in skin color, particularly in the case of the inhabitants of Nubia and Aethiopia. The Egyptians 23 Eventually, Egypt had sole rule over the area referred to as Nubia (the Roman Aethiopia). 24 During this time a change in attitude towards the Nubians emerges, placing the Egyptians clearly above the Nubians in status. 25 Egypt continues rule over the area int o the era of the New Kingdom and, eventually, loses power. 26 What is left 21 Adams (1984) 65. 22 Ibid. 23 Adams (1984) 39 40. 24 Adams (1984) 53 56 offers as evidence a lack of constructed tombs and buildin gs for the rulers of Nubia like those seen earlier. 25 Adams (1984) 59 notes this change via religious structures, mainly temples and statues. 26 The New Kingdom period covers Dynasties XVIII XX, approximately 1600 1000 BCE according to Adams (1984) 38. Little is known about this fall from power, but Adams (1984) 62 63 draws a link to the


32 behind is, in areas, a fertile land which the Nubians and other Aethiopians populate and in which they create their own civilization. This civilization develops its own indigenous Afr ican language and, while maintaining some Egyptian customs, becomes what is called the Meroetic Kingdom around 500 BCE. This kingdom developed in pockets within this area and later developed relationships with the Graeco Roman world. 27 The origins of the terms Nubian and Aethiopian are heavily wrapped in the history of the land, recounted above, and the development of civilizations in the area. As people moved in and out of the land and new civilizations emerged, the terminology naming those people changed repeatedly. Not only did terms differ between time periods, but they also differed between cultures and even between authors in the same culture. The ancient Egyptians, while they had the most contact with the races living to the south, never actually use d the word Aethiopia or Nuba to refer to this area, but Rather, the terms Nuba and Aethiopia play a more significant role in Classical literature. 28 The term Nuba com es from a variety of ancient Egyptian sources that combine 29 The Egyptians often referred to the Nubians (and by extension, the Aethiopians) as vile and the natural enemies of Egypt and, the Later Egyptian distinction nb 30 While the 27 Kirwan (1974) 44. 28 Smith (1854) 57 lists the use of the word in Strabo and Herodotus as such examples and this thesis uses references in Pliny the Elder. 29 Selden (2013) 328. 30 Ibid.


33 original term does not contain a negative meaning, in that it refers to a golden land, the language is later imbued with the negative relationship between the Nubians (and Aethiopians) and the Egyptians, creating a negative connotation for the word. The word Aethiopia has remarkably clearer etymology when compared to Wawat or Nuba and is far more common in Classical literature: Pliny the Elder used this word exclusively. The origin of the word is somewha t unknown, but more than likely indigenous to the area and Semitic. 31 The term is picked up by the Greeks who connect 32 The term is used in Greek to refer to those living to the south of Egypt as well as thos e living in areas of Asia Minor, referencing the belief that their skin was burned by their proximity to the sun. Unlike Nuba Aethiopia does not have a negative connotation in Egyptian and is more commonly used by the population itself. For the Romans, ho wever, this nation is named choice to use Aethiops in his writing demonstrates his proto racist view through its ties Understanding the origi ns of the terms that Caesar and Pliny choose in contrast with other terms available to ancient authors help us understand the perspective of these authors as well as the assumptions they held at the time of their writing. While Pliny drew on references fro m the Greeks, who used geography and climate as the basis for their assumptions, to name the area south of Egypt and the people who inhabited it, Caesar assumed geography and distance racially distinguished those living 31 Smith (1854). 32


34 on continental Europe from those liv ing on the British Isles. Both examples, however, exhibit environmental theory and the proto racist view. For the purposes of this paper, Britania. Similarly, Aethiop ian is used to refer to those living to the south of Egypt in the lands below the second cataract in modern day Sudan and Ethiopia. 33 33 This paper, out of respect for the Classical authors, uses their chosen language when referring to those living in modern day France and Sudan/Ethiopia.


35 CHAPTER 4 GEOGRAPHY OF PROTO RACISM IN CAESAR AND PLINY THE ELDER As has been established, references in Caesar and Pliny the Elder to skin color attribute skin color differences to geography. Other attributes and stereotypes were also thought to be caused by geography; generally speaking, it was believed that those who lived in colder climates had stronger physical features and were less intelligent while those in hot climates were physically weak, but with clever minds. Both Caesar and Pliny the Elder make use of these stereotypes in their understanding of the peoples w hom they discuss: the Gauls and Aethiopians, respectively. The Gauls De Bello Gallico makes use of geography to attain two goals in addition to simply orienting his reader. First and most obvious, the geography Caesar describes must bring his ow viability and authority. 1 This gives him credibility while also making the subject matter of his commentary compelling to the reader. By establishing this baseline of authority, Caesar se ts a foundation for his second goal, in which, by using geography, he establishes the importance of this particular conquest. River. 2 By choosing this particular area in Gaul, Caesa r helps define the kind of people 1 Schadee (2008) 162 notes the importance of the information passed to Caesar through his uncle Marius and his defeat of the Cimbri and Teutones as well as the importance of the fear of another sack by the Gauls as in the fourth century BCE. By using these histories and referencing this geography in his De Bello Gallico Caesar plays on the fears of the Ro mans, making his conquests all the more important. 2 Schadee (2008) 162. This thesis discusses the following inhabitants of that space, seven tribes of Gaul: the Remi, the Suessiones, the Nervii, the Belgae, the Helvetii, the Veneti, and the Morini. Smith (1854) 698 699 says that the Remi were located in Belgic Gaul which, as Caesar describes in Book I of De Bello Gallico is the northern part of Gaul. Smith (1854) 1044 1045 similarly places the Suessiones in the same area as the Remi, as neighbors. Caesar notes in 2.4 that the Nervii are the fiercest among the Belgae


36 he will face in his conquest as particularly fierce. This area was not known for its fertility and, given its northern location, the tribes which inhabit it, while not particularly intelligent, would be expected to be phys ically fierce opponents, given a proto racist lens ( DBG 2.4.6 8): Suessiones suos esse finitimos; fines latissimos feracissimosque agros possidere. apud eos fuisse regem nostra etiam memoria Diviacum, totius Galliae potentissimum, qui cum magnae partis ha rum regionum, tum etiam Britanniae imperium obtinuerit; nunc esse regem Galbam: ad hunc propter iustitam prudentiamque summam totius belli omnium voluntate deferri; oppida habere numbero XII polliceri milia armata L; totidem Nervios, qui maxime fer inter i psos habeantur longissimeque absint. The Suessiones, the Remi said, were their own immediate neighbors; they occupied lands as extensive as they were productive. Among them, even within living memory, Diviciacus had been king, the most powerful man in the whole of Gaul, who had exercised sovereignty alike over a great part of these districts, and even over Britain. Galba was now king; to him, by reason of his justice and sagacity, the supreme charge of the campaign was delivered by general consent; he had t welve towns, and promised fifty thousand men at arms. An equal number were promised by the Nervii, accounted the fiercest among the Belgae, and dwelling farthest away. 3 In the passage above, Caesar relates information received from the Remi in regards to t he other Gallic tribes surrounding them and the amount of armed men they have. Caesar gives the reader this information in order of geographical location in proximity to the Remi. The Suessiones, the closest, have the most fertile land and, in direct conne ction to that, have the most powerful Gaul among them, the king. This description and Smith (1854) 420 421 confirms this. Smith (1984) 372 places the Morini near the north western coast of Gaul, closest to Britannia, in Belgic territory. However, Smith also notes that the or igins of the Belgae were unproven. Certain tribes claimed German origins and others claimed Gallic origins. While the actual racist view. The Helvetii, as Smith (1 854) 1040 1041 tells us, are of Gallic and Celtic origin. Also according to Smith (1854) 1270, the Veneti, who live along the coast by the Atlantic, are of Gallic origin. 3 De Bello Gallico are from the Loeb Classical Libr ary (1917).


37 4 While the Suessiones do live in a colder, less fertile climate than the Romans, they live i n a more fertile land than most Gauls, and so provided the ruler of all Gaul. 5 Similarly, Caesar ss with their lack of proximity to the Remi. Caesar goes on to describe the contributions of other tribes, but these two noteworthy ones, according to Caesar, have promised similar numbers of armed men, compelling the reader to compare them. Rather than co mparing their military skills or strategies, Caesar instead focuses on their geography and, in such, demonstrates a clear proto racist bias. In the passage below, Caesar comments on the emotional weaknesses of the Gauls. Even though the cold makes them p hysically strong, according to the proto racist view, it also leaves them prone to emotionalism: ( DBG 3.8.3 5) horum auctoritate finitimi adducti, ut sunt Gallorum subit et repentina consilia, eadem de causa Trebium Terrasidiumque retinent et celeriter mis sis legatis per suos principes inter se coniurant nihil nihis communi consilio acturos aundemque omnes fortunae exitum esse laturos, reliquasque civitates sollicitant, ut in ea libertate quam a maioribus acceperint permanere quam Romanorum servitutem perfe rre malint. omni ora maritima celeriter ad suam sententiam perducta communem legationem ad P. Crassum mittunt, si velit suos recuperare, obsides sibi remittat. Their authority induced their neighbors for the Gauls are sudden and spasmodic in their desig ns to detain Trebius and Terrasidius for the same reason, and, rapidly dispatching deputies among their chiefs, they bound themselves by mutual oath to do nothing save by common consent, 4 For the full definition of proto racism and Scha 5 Isaac (2004) 55 59 notes that ancient viewpoints held that those living in fertile areas were more ready to rule, while those living in infertile areas w ere less likely to rule and should, therefore prepare themselves to be ruled (Cf. pg. 13 where I make this argument initially).


38 and to abide together the single issue of their destiny. Moreover, they urged the remaining states to choose rather to abide in the liberty received from their ancestors than to endure Roman slavery. The whole sea coast was rapidly won to their opinion, and they despatched a deputation in common to Publius Crassus, biddin g him restore their hostages if he would receive back his own officers. Caesar writes in this passage about the influence those living on the coast have on their neighboring Gallic tribes. Caesar notes just prior that those living on the coast have knowled ge of sea travel and trading and, given the landscape, hold control of all of the ports in the area. The proximity to the sea affords this group more control and influence esar relates the persuadability of the neighboring Gauls to a trait commonly given to those living in the North due to their colder climate: intellectual inferiority. While the Gauls maintain physical strength and fierceness, they lack the intellectual cap acity to make sound and well considered decisions. Caesar asserts Roman expertise over these people, who, using a proto racist filter, do not reason well. He then benefits from their ability to influence their neighboring tribes. Both of these examples ep stereotypes of those living in colder harsher climates. Because the Suessiones live in the most fertile area, they are able to provide a powerful king and a large number of armed men. On the other hand, th e Nervii, marked by their distance from the Remi, provide a similar amount of armed men, due to their fierceness, rather than emotional superiority. In the second example, a similar comparison can be drawn between the Veneti (who live along the coast) and their neighbors. The Veneti hold the ports and have knowledge of the sea, given their location, and are easily able to convince those Gauls living further inland to try and resist the Romans, because the Gauls are, as


39 Caesar argues, by their nature, quick to judgment. The Veneti, by their proximity to the own description, are able to hold sway over their neighbors. Those Gauls living inland, however, are more susceptibl e to lack of control in judgment on account of their cold account, demonstrating a clear example of proto racism. This is another example of Caesar utilizing assumptions in his writing about the Gauls which fit a proto racist understanding of these dynamics. 6 The Britons extends to his venture into Britain and his dealings with the British people. T he island of Britain was considered an important conquest to the Mediterranean world. 7 As such, it provided a perfect opportunity for Caesar to use geography to convince his Roman readers of the importance of his expedition into this land ( DBG 4.20.1 2): exigua parte a aestatis relinqua Caesar etsi in his locis, quod omnis Gallia ad septentriones vergit, maturae sunt himes, tamen in Britanniam profisci contendit, quod omnibus fere Gallicis bellis hostibus nostris inde subministrata auxilia intellegebat, e t si tempus anni bellum gerundum deficeret, tamen magno sibi usui fore arbitrabatur, si modo insula adiisset, genus hominum perspexisset, loca, portus, aditus cognovisset; quae omnia fere Gallis erant icognita. Only a small part of the summer was left, and in these regions, as all Gaul has a northerly aspect, the winters are early; but for all this Caesar was intent upon starting for Britain. He understood that in almost all the Gallic campaigns succours had been furnished for our enemy from that quarter; and he supposed that, if the season left no time for actual campaigning, it would still be of great advantage to him merely to have entered the island, 6 7 Schadee (2008) 171.


40 observed the character of the natives, and obtained some kno wledge of the localities, the harbors, and the landing places; for almost all these matters were unknown to the Gauls. Caesar states in this passage his desire to explore this unknown region of Britain. He reasons that this desire and subsequent expedition is important because it would allow him to observe the nature of those Britons who were even unknown to the Gauls. And yet, even though Caesar admits to knowing little to nothing about the Britons, in the next passage he refers to them as barbarians. 8 In the next section, Caesar connects this word to the Morini tribe as well. 9 Similarly, as Shcadee notes, Caesar makes the Britons enemies of the state of Rome in using the word nostris since use of the word marks his expedition as useful for the state and n ot just for personal reasons. While this passage does not show such a direct, overt conclusion indicative of the proto racist viewpoint, his willingness to travel into Britain to discover the geography and thus learn about the character of the Britons, wh ile already referring to them as barbaric, is still a subtle example of the proto racist viewpoint. Caesar uses geography to both establish the kind of foes Rome faces in the north as eager for war, able to fight, but fickle in mind. He also uses the same geography and his own travels to play on the fears of the Romans and argue for his journey in his discussions of the Germans, Gauls, and British. Caesar uses this same description of the geography and the stereotypic assumptions of the proto racist view t o speak positively about the Romans, their journey, and their mindset. 8 DBG 4.21 9. Also see discussion on pg. 21 regarding the Latin word barbarus and its significance. 9 DBG 4.22.


41 Virtus Do They Really Have It? Caesar also uses the geography in his De Bello Gallico to establish the presence of virtus in the people he writes about. The presence of virtus is key to understanding racism because, while it appears to be used in a positive sense and refer to the strength of the Gauls, instead it is patronizing, limited only to their ferocity in battle and lacking the complexity and dept significance when applied to the Romans. The Gauls were not Roman; when Caesar used the term virtus his Roman audience recognized the implications of its context, both when it was used and when it was omitted. Caesar does not use virtus to imply the Gauls are equal to the Romans. Gruen argues that by applying the term virtus to the Gauls, Caesar is not showing a proto racist view because, in doing so, he establishes a similarity between the Romans and these peoples. 10 However, while his application of the term here may look like Caesar seems to raise the merits of the Gauls and Germans to that of the Romans, this approach fails to look at the phrasing and reasoning behind different uses of the word. of the word appears in his first book, applied to the Gauls ( DBG 1.1.4): proximique sunt Germanis, qui trans Rhenum incolunt, quibuscum continenter bellum gerunt. qua de causa Helvetii quoque reliquos Gallos virtute praecedunt, quod fere cotidianis proeli is cum Germanis contendunt, cum aut suis finibus eos prohibunt out ipsi eorum finibus bellum. and also because they are nearest to the Germans dwelling beyond the Rhine, with whom they are continually at war. For this cause the Helvetii also excel the rest of the Gauls in valour, because they are struggling in almost daily fights with the Germans, either endeavoring to keep them out of Gallic territory or waging an aggressive warfare in German territory. 10 Gruen (2011) 155.


42 This first use of the word virtus shows that, while t he term can be applied to the Helvetii, it is only in relationship to the other Gauls, and not to the Romans. The lack of reference to the Romans in this passage separates the two peoples by more than just geography, but also in this important Roman ideal. The virtus the Helvetii hold is not in comparison to the Romans, nor even to the Germans, but rather to other tribes in Gaul. virtus only applies in this case to the physical strength and ferocity of the Helvetii, attributes t hat, according to the tenets of proto racism, the virtus in reference to the Gauls directly refers to their military prowess and physical strength, along with their willingness t o engage the ferocious Germans repeatedly, and specifically leaves out any mention of any manliness or moral understanding, arguably the most important facets of virtus as applied to the Romans. counting a tale about a certain Gaul: Orgetorix ( DBG 1.2.1). apud Helvetios longe nobilissimus fuit et ditissimus Orgetorix. is M. Messela, [et P.] M. Pisone consulibus regni cupiditate inductus coniurationem nobilitatis fecit et civitati persuasit ut de finibus suis cum omnibus copiis exirent: perfacile esse, cum virtute omnibus praestarent, totius Galliae imperio potiri. Among the Helvetii the noblest man by far and the most wealthy was Orgetorix. In the consulship of Marcus Messalla and Marcus Piso, hi s desire for the kingship led him to form a conspiracy of the nobility, and he persuaded the community to march out of their territory in full force, urging that as they excelled all in valour it was easy enough to secure the sovereignty of all Gaul. While this use of virtus seems to give full credit to the Helvetii, Caesar is careful to give it the voice of a Gaul, rather than let it be a description of the Gauls by Caesar. Just as comparing the Helvetii to other Gauls gives them virtus without giving them a quality of


43 virtus equal to that of the Romans, so here does Caesar limit the scope of virtus Caesar argues the physical and military prowess of Orgetorix only, rather than a sense of morality and virtuous ability. Gruen argues that by using words like virtus to describe the Gauls, Caesar is giving credence to and suggesting that the Gauls shared ideas of virtue with the Romans. 11 graphy of Gaul at length in his De Bello Gallico In addition to this, he explicitly points out the distance between Gaul and Rome. By pointing his readers to the geography of the Gauls and their distance from Rome, Caesar reminds his readers of their sepa ration from the Gauls and the harsh, cold climate in which they live. He reminds them subtly that the virtus becomes shallow, a mockery of Roman virtue expressed by a man viewed by the Romans as too cold and stupid to really understand what he is saying. Orgetorix would not have known Roman virtus in such a way, and neither would the Gauls have had a meaningful reference for Roman virtus to be able to use this word the same way the Romans did. 12 11 Gruen (2011) 152 153. 12 Fergus Millar (1984) 7 8 points out that little is known about the effects Roman rule and colonization had on local peoples outside of Rome. He notes a move towards agriculture and urbanization in Gaul particularly, and how Gallic soldiers could be found all over the empire. What he also notes, and what is most pertinent to this thesis, is a lack of evidence of Roman influence in everyday soci ety and understanding. This suggests that either the Roman invasion did not necessarily change Gallic knowledge of Roman understanding or they were such minor changes in attitude that they did not warrant any further discussion.


44 Another passage which lends itself to a proto racist interpretation of Caesar is his description of a group of Gauls who have changed their geography, and through time, have taken on the aspects of those Germans living in the same area ( DB G 6.242 6). itaque ea quae fertilissima Germaniae sunt loca circum Hercyniam silvam, quam Eratostheni et quibusdam Graecis fama notam esse video, quam illi Orcyniam appellant, Volcae Tectosages occupaverunt atque ibi consederunt; quae gens ad hoc tempus hi s sedibus sese continet cummamque habet iustitiae et bellicae laudis opinionem. nunc quod in eadem inopia, egestate, patientia qua Germani permanent, eodem victu et cultu corporis utuntur; Gallis autem provinciarum propinquitas et transmarinarum rerum noti tia multa ad copiam atque usus largitur, paulatim adsuefacti superari multisque victi proeliis ne se quidem ipsi cum ilis virtute comparant. Accordingly, the Volcae Tectosages, seized on those parts of Germany which are the most fruitful [and lie] around t he Hercynian forest, (which, I perceive, was known by report to Eratosthenes and some other Greeks, and which they call Orcynia), and settled there. Which nation to this time retains its position in those settlements, and has a very high character for just ice and military merit; now also they continue in the same scarcity, indigence, hardihood, as the Germans, and use the same food and dress; but their proximity to the Province and knowledge of commodities from countries beyond the sea supplies to the Gauls many things tending to luxury as well as civilization. Accustomed by degrees to be overmatched and worsted in many engagements, they do not even compare themselves to the Germans in prowess. Caesar demonstrates here just how his sense of geography plays a role in his proto racist views of the Gauls. This particular tribe once lived with the other Gallic tribes; however, they since moved to a territory otherwise occupied by Germans. Caesar then d to those Gauls who have come to enjoy contact with the Romans, maintained a sense of physical fierceness, whereas those living in Gaul have weakened in military prowess. 13 13 Isaac (2004) 97 also notes this loss of military skill and further notes that through contact with Roman


45 g in upper Gaul. Having already established the geography of the land and the time within which the Romans travel to Britain, Caesar discusses the two ranks of men among the Gauls, focusing particularly on the Druids. 14 He establishes the power that the Dru ids hold and the makeup of their group, focusing on the mental preparation that the Druids undergo and stating as one of his first points that the Druids do not fight in wars. 15 At this point, Caesar turns his attention to what gives the Druids inspire virt ue ( DBG 6.14.5): in primis hoc volunt persuadere, non interire animas, sed ab aliis post mortem transire ad alios, atque hoc maxime ad virtutem excitari putant metu mortis neglecto. The cardinal doctrine which they seek to teach is that souls do not die, but after death pass from one to another; and this belief, as the fear of death is thereby cast aside, they hold to be the greatest incentive to valour. The Druids differ from the Romans and most of the Gauls of mainland Europe in that their virtue is not based on war, duty, or riches, but rather on a spiritual understanding of how the world and souls work. Again, as with the Helvetii, this interpretation of virtus is not one that is comparable to the Romans, but one that is unique to the Druids. This examp le, as with ones already discussed, shows the virtus of the Gauls tied directly to military prowess. Even though this example makes use of morals and religious duty for the Gauls, it still only incites virtus in battle. Caesar goes to the trouble of descri bing the Druids as a section of people who do not participate in physical activities like that of 14 De Bello Gallico 6.13 14 states that t hroughout Gaul there are two classes of people: common and noble. The common folk are often treated as a lower class, which Caesar remarks as similar to the treatment of slaves. The noble class are called Druids. 15 Caesar De Bello Gallico 6.14. As the Dru ids were not only noble but also served as the priests of the society, they would not be involved in battle.


46 war, for which the Gauls are eager, and as an elite group of people separated from that of the rest of the Gauls. In doing so, he furthers their separation fr om the Romans and establishes a new brand of virtue for the Druids. Furthermore, the Druid teaching that the soul does not die, but passes from one body to another only increases the British ity in the Gauls that is virtus to the Gauls: their courage is about ferocity, not loyalty. Caesar uses geography to utilize the already understood stereotypes of the nally, he uses geography to provide reason and support for his own causes and to establish degrees of separation between himself and those people he comes into contact with. While Gruen argues that this shows a lack of proto racism, the very fact that thes e descriptions and attributes rest upon stereotypes established by geography shows a clear proto The Aethiopians Naturalis Historia is a collection of books based in science and research, making geograph y key to understanding parts of this work. In these books, Pliny leans heavily on preexisting research and previously established assumptions about his various topics, including, and particularly relevant to this thesis, the Aethiopians. As has been previo usly discussed, Pliny uses the term Aethiopia to refer to negative connotation of impure that Nuba gives. Rather, it relies on not only the Greek language, but the Greek understanding of the people living to the south of Egypt: that proximity to the sun, and the heat of their climate.


47 As does Caesar, Pliny makes connections between the quali ty of the environment and the temperament of the peoples in question. His assessment of those living to the south, particularly the Aethiopians ( NH 2.189): namque et Aethiopas vicini sideris vapore torreri adustisque similes gigni, barba et capillo vibrato, non est dubium, et adversa plaga mundi candida atque glaciali cute esse gentes, flavis promissas crinibus, truces ver ex caeli rigore has, illas mobilitate sapi entes, ipsoque curum argumento illis in supera sucum revocari natura vaporis, his in inferas partes depelli umore deciduo. For it is beyond question that the Aethiopians are burnt by the heat of the heavenly body near them, and are born with a scorched app earance, with curly beard and hair, and that in the opposite region of the world the races have white frosty skins, with yellow hair that hangs straight; while the latter are fierce owing to the rigidity of their climate but the former wise because of the mobility of theirs; and their legs themselves prove that with the former the juice is called away into the upper portions of the body by the nature of heat, while with the latter it is driven down to the lower parts by falling moisture 16 n of the two groups, even though a straightforward list of the traits they possess, is indicative of a point of view that results from proto racism.. He describes a people to the north and, within his physical description, focuses especially on their physi strength is directly connected to their geographical location and climate. The Aethiopians to the south of the Mediterranean display the opposite traits from those in the nor th: wise temperaments instead of physical strength, dark skin instead of fair, curly hair instead of straight. Pliny again ties the traits of the Aethiopians to their geographical locations and climates, and points to their opposing geography to explain 16 Naturalis Historia are from Rackham, Jones, and Eichholz (1949 1954).


48 th eir opposing features: those who live in a cold climate have near opposite characteristics that those who live in a hot climate. 17 geography influences the outward appearance and temperament of the peoples in question is also in 18 Accordingly Pliny asserts that while the Gauls the men to the north are fair skinned, fierce, and, therefore, stupid, the Aethiopians are dark skinned, cowardly, and wise. 19 In this same book, which concerns the movement of the stars, Pliny discusses NH 2.189 190): corporum autem proceritatem utrobique, illic ignium nisu, hic umor is alimento; medio vero terrae salubri utrimque mixtura fertiles ad omnia tractus, modicos corporum habitus magna et in colore temperie, ritus molles, sensus liquidos, ingenia fecunda totiusque naturae capacia, isdem imperia, quae numquam extimis gentibus fuerint, sicut ne illae quidem his paruerint, avolsae ac pro numine naturae urguentis illas solitariae. but in both regions men's stature is high, owing in the former to the pressure of the fires and in the latter to the nourishing effect of the damp; wher eas in the middle of the earth, owing to a healthy blending of both elements, there are tracts that are fertile for all sorts of produce, and men are of medium bodily stature, with a marked blending even in the matter of complexion; customs are gentle, sen ses clear, intellects fertile and able to grasp the whole of nature; and they also have governments, which the outer races never have possessed, any more than they have ever been subject to the central races, being quite detached and solitary on account of the savagery of the nature that broods over those regions. In this section, Pliny attaches traits to groups of people based solely on their geography. Those who live in the middle of the earth enjoy particularly mild, clever, and strong 17 Pliny in 2.189 applies this und erstanding to both the animals and groups of people living in the regions. 18 orld and the Roman Empire. 19 Isaac (2006) 151.


49 attributes due ent irely to a healthy mixing of geography from the surrounding areas. Those in the outer areas, due to their geography alone, not only lack in either physical or mental ability, but also lack as a community in their rites and governments. This practice of att ributing hereditary traits and proclivity to certain customs to geographical location stems from that same proto racist concept that the Romans inherited from the Greeks. If It Is Positive, Is It Still Proto racism? Gruen argues that because Pliny the Elde r and others focus on positive or neutral stereotypes, racism is absent from the Roman viewpoint. 20 With a contemporary understanding of racism, this would seem to be the case, but the contemporary definition of racism depends upon a relationship with skin color the ancients did not have; Gruen also recognizes this, but insists on this discounting any possibility of racism in the ancient world. This direct connection between skin color and bigotry and negative bias betrays a contemporary lens, rather than an understanding of ancient viewpoints. racism, however, is the understanding that people in power (the Romans) assign stereotypes and explain characteristics using geography and climate, rather than skin color, as their origins in comparison to themselves. These stereotypes and explanations are clearly proto racist because these people are compared to the Romans, who hold the power (particularly in the literature discussed in this thesis) and are, therefore, conside red inferior. While the discussion of the bravery of the Gauls, wisdom of the Druids, cleverness of the Aethiopians, and virtus in non Romans might be perceived as positive 20 Gruen (2011) 197 203.


50 from a contemporary point of view, they are still examples of the proto racism that was prevalent among the Romans. Caesar both directly and indirectly connects these attributes to specific locations in Europe and with certain climates. Pliny states that these attributes can be applied to whole groups of people based solely on the sun, s tars, and weather in any given region. The perceived negativity of any single stereotype does not play into whether or not the stereotype is an example of the proto racist view. Often a perceived lack of negativity relies on a contemporary understanding of racism: relying heavily on skin color. Rather, the application of these stereotypes is consistently tied to observations about the connection of geography and weather to the characteristics of the people who live there and by these connections are seen as inferior by the people in power. Caesar demonstrates this each time he uses virtus to for the Gauls refers only to military prowess and savagery on the battlefield. A contemporary understanding o f racism requires a connection between perceived negative characteristics and skin color. Through this understanding, it can be easy to argue that the ancients were lacking in any racist thoughts. However, when one looks at examples from the ancient world in writing, a clear perspective is evident. Rather than basing stereotypes and perceived negative traits in skin color, they are based in particular perspectives of the role that geography and climate have on various groups of people.


51 CHAPTER 5 HE REDITARY FEATURES IN CAESAR AND PLINY THE ELDER AS THEY RELATE THE GAULS AND AETHIOPIANS In addition to geography, features perceived to be hereditary are central to a proto ll include those features which are considered by ancient sources to be biologically passed down from parent to child, whether or not they are indeed biologically passed down. Geography still plays a role even in this aspect of proto racism because these f eatures, thought to be passed from parent to child, are considered direct results of the geographical location. What is key to this understanding, however, is that these features, much like geography, are considered to be unchangeable, making them, in a pr oto racist viewpoint, an integral part of the culture in which they are found. 1 Isaac illustrates the immutable qualities of hereditary features, using a proto racist lens, with multiple examples from ancient authors. 2 He points particularly to scriptions of the Aethiopians and Indians. Strabo marks the differing hair to being closer to the sun than other groups. Strabo goes on to say that these attributes are passed from parent to child within the womb, along with other similarities. 3 This example illustrates a central tenet of proto racism: variable aspects (geography, climate, 1 Isaac (2006) 38 gives an important example from Livy which points to the perceived effect geography and weather have on the features of seeds and animals. These features are passed down from parent to child, thus making them hereditary features. 2 He also points to examples wherein such things as scars and tattoos are passed from parent to child via biology. 3 Isaac (2006) 37.


52 etc.) are thought to cause hereditary features passed between generations. 4 In thi s chapter, I will analyze examples from both Caesar and Pliny the Elder for discussions of such perceived hereditary features, keeping in mind the proto racist viewpoint. To the North Throughout his De Bello Gallico Caesar points repeatedly to the physic ality of the Gauls, mainly their strength and warring tendencies. In the first book, Caesar recounts a battle with the Helvetii, a Gallic tribe. Caesar recounts a particular conversation with a representative of the Helvetii ( DBG 1.13.3 4): Is ita cum Caes are egit: si pacem populus Romanus cum Helvetiis faceret, in eam partem ituros atque ibi futuros Helvetios ubi eos Caesar constituisset atque esse voluisset; sine bello persequi perseveraret, reminisceretur et veteris incommodi populi Romani et pristinae v irtutis Helvetiorum. Quod improviso unum pagum adortus esset, cum ii qui flumen transissent suis auxilium ferre non possent, ne ob eam rem aut suae magnopere virtuti tribueret aut ipsos despiceret. Se ita a patribus maioribusque suis didicisse, ut magis vi rtute contenderent quam dolo aut insidiis niterentur. He treated with Caesar as follows: If the Roman people would make peace with the Helvetii, they would go whither and abide where Caesar should determine and desire; if on the other hand he should contin ue to visit them with war, he was advised to remember the earlier disaster of the Roman people and the ancient valour of the Helvetii. He had attacked one canton unawares, when those who had crossed the river could not bear assistance to their fellows; but that event must not induce him to rate his own valour highly or to despise them. The Helvetii had learnt from their parents and ancestors to fight their battles with courage, not with cunning nor reliance upon stratagem. In this passage, Caesar has the He lvetii use their physical strength to remind him of the potential for damage to the Roman people should he persevere in his endeavor. 5 This 4 examples from Strabo as a n example parallel to what I am identifying in Caesar and Pliny.


53 strength, which Caesar defines as savage and unrestrained, as well as lacking in emotional fortitude, is well known among the Helvetian people and, as it was inherited from the previous generation which defeated the Romans, older generations have shown the strength is dangerous to the Romans. Caesar describes this physical strength, refusal to use cunning or strategy, a nd lack of knowledge of Roman power as something that has been passed down as a hereditary feature, and the current generation with whom he is treating continues to rely on this inherited power, since their location and hereditary traits prohibit them from themselves declare. While war traditions and practices may be passed down as aspects elves to a proto racist view: a tendency for violence over wit and great physical strength passed through generations, rather than earned on merit. refers to the physical str ength of the Gallic tribes and, ultimately, their emotional weakness when they lose to him or give in to his demands. Schadee me encounter with the Belgae. Due to their northern geography, they are exempt from some of the corruption of weakn ess that plagues the southern Gauls, and instead the severity of their climate causes particular fierceness. 6 Schadee also points to a dual 5 As has been discussed in Chapter 1, while virtus had many complex meanings for the Romans, virtus to mean physical and military strength in reference to the Gauls remains consistent, limiting the Gauls, by their geography, to be physically strong, yet lacking in intellectual skills. 6 Schadee (2008) 164 165.


54 reputation among his audience and further establishes the Belgae as a group of people Schadee highlights the Nervii as another example of the same. Caesar again uses their distance and geography to redefine Nervii traditions and cultural points as her editary factors ( DBG 2.14.3 5): Quorum de natura moribusque Caesar cum quaereret, sic reperiebat: nullum esse aditum ad eos mercatoribus; nihil pati vini reliquarumque rerum ad luxuriam pertinentium inferri, quod his rebus relanguescere animos eorum et rem itti virtutem existimarent; esse homines feros magnaeque virtutis. concerning whose character and customs when Caesar inquired he received the following information: That there was no access for merchants to them; that they suffered no wine and other thi ngs tending to luxury to be imported; because, they thought that by their use the mind is enervated and the courage impaired: that they were a savage people and of great bravery use of the word natura suggests something unchangeable. The information he receives is not, in and of itself, unchangeable information about a group of people, but he takes it as such, using geography and the isolation of the group to explain their stubbornness, savageness, and refusal to work with Caesar. 7 targeted use of virtus continues in this passage, balancing their lack of emotional fortitude with their savagery and military bravery. proto racist vie w, coloring the opinions of his readers according to their preexisting 7 Schadee (2008) 165 also points out that Caesar uses these commonly held beliefs about those living in remo te locations to point to the end of his Gallic campaign, suggesting that Romans reading his work would be familiar with these stereotypes and would recognize these traits, and subsequently, accept


55 superiority. These tribes inherit mindless valor, but no art or strategy. Their natura is fixed, hereditary, and inextricably linked to their location. To the South In contrast to those in the north, the Aethiopians and other peoples living to the south of the Medite rranean are considered mentally clever, but physically weak. However, these traits, like those of the peoples to the north, are presumed hereditary and used to characterize whole groups, again sourced in their climate and their geography. Pliny the Elder describes a specific instance when the stereotypical traits caused by geography become hereditary ( NH 7.50): Iam illa vulgata sunt: varie ex integris truncos gigni, ex truncis integros; eadem parte truncos, signa quaedam naevosque et cicatrices etiam rege nerari, quarto partu Dacorum originis nota in brachio reddita It is also well known that sound parents may have deformed children and deformed parents sound children or children with the same deformity, as the case may be; that some marks and moles and eve n scars reappear in the offspring, in some cases a birth mark on the arm reappearing in the fourth generation. 8 The supposed hereditary nature of scars, moles, and disease is a commonly accepted theory in the ancient world. 9 around the physical marks 8 Another translation of this passage makes the point more clearly, so for comparison I have included this formed parents often produce defective children; and on the other hand, defective parents children who are well formed, or else imperfect in the same part of the body as the parents. It is a well known fact also, that marks, moles, and even scars, are reproduced in members of the same family in successive generations. Th e mark which the Daci make on their arms for the purpose of denoting their origin, is known to last even to the fourth 9 Isaac (2006) 37 also points to examples in AWP as well as in Aristotle. He uses Strabo 15.1.24 to nd already in the womb children, by seminal communication, become like their


56 and weaknesses believed to be caused by proximity to the sun and describes their transfer into hereditary traits passed from parent to child. While extreme heat was believed to cause physical disease (as compared to the emotional deficiencies extreme cold was believed to cause), Pliny suggests that these attributes or diseases become hereditary. Pliny exemplifies the textbook definition of proto racism when he originally explains these illnesses and inferior features by their geog raphy and then argues in favor of a hereditary nature. Pliny also uses the geography of the southern lands to describe hereditary features that have been passed down throughout entire peoples that are so distinct and strange that the people become identi fied by these features first and foremost ( NH 6.35): animalium hominumque monstrificas effigies circa extremitates eius gigni minime mirum, artifici ad formanda corpora effigiesque caelandas mobilitate ignea. ferunt certe ab orientis parte intima gentes es se sine naribus, aequali totius oris planitie, alias superiore labro orbas, alias sine linguis. pars etiam ore concreto et naribus carens uno tantum foramine spirat potumque calamis avenae trahit et grana eiusdem avenae sponte provenientis ad vescendum. It is by no means surprising that the outermost districts of this region produce animal and human monstrosities, considering the capacity of the mobile element of fire to mould their bodies and carve their outlines. It is certainly reported that in the inter ior on the east side there are tribes of people without noses, their whole face being perfectly flat, and other tribes that have no upper lip and others no tongues. Also one section has the mouth closed up and has no nostrils, but only a single orifice thr ough which it breathes and sucks in drink by means of oat straws, as well as grains of oat, which grows wild there, for food. This passage discusses peoples in the area of Aethiopia. 10 In other books, Pliny noted l as the extreme heat of the land. 11 This 10 This particular passage of Pliny ( NH 6.35) discusses the specific landscape of the area of Mer oe, where the Aethiopian/Nubian people and their rulers lived.


57 continues his description of this area by describing the people there and the particular physical deformities from which they suff er. These traits, which Pliny has already asserted are caused by the geography and climate, are also argued to be hereditary and are assigned to entire tribes as a distinguishing factor. Additionally, Pliny uses the geographical features of the area to ex plain traits the Aethiopians themselves had, making generalizations about their features and habits based solely on the geography and stereotypes passed on to the Romans by the Egyptians. In the passage below, Pliny particularly discusses the traits of tho se living in temperate zones, namely, the Romans, to contrast the flow of bodily juices to those of other peoples. Additionally, Pliny argues that these unchangeable hereditary features affect the traditions and morals of whole groups. 12 Pliny then turns th is discussion again to those living outside the so called temperate zones to remark on perceived mental capabilities. As pointed out before, Pliny describes the climate "in the middle of the earth" as producing men for whom "customs are gentle, senses clea r, intellects fertile and able to grasp the whole of nature" ( NH 2.190). 13 In his compiled descriptions of various peoples that live within the borders of Aethiopia, Pliny uses the geography of traits formed by the geography and climate and then passed down from generation to 11 Pliny the Elder NH 2.189, 7.50 12 Pliny the Elder NH 2.188 189. 13 S ee pg. 43 44


58 generation until it is these traits by which the peoples are i dentified is an excellent example of proto racism. I ndicative of proto hot climates are mentally clever. Isaac notes the same model of the proto racist view in Vitruvius, who agrees that th ose born in the extreme heat are exceedingly clever and cunning but, due to the lack of blood flow caused by the heat, are physically weak and substandard. 14 The Hippocratic treatise AWP also points out this perceived pattern, although it uses Europe and As ia as its examples. 15 Pliny the Elder, while he does subscribe to the well accepted theory that cleverness and physical weakness both result from the heat in the south, does not take such a negative tone as his predecessors. As discussed in Chapter 4, in th Naturalis Historia gives a clear example of this proto description of those in the north and south clearly reflects a proto racist understanding of these areas, given his reliance on ge ography to ascribe traits to those living in the the juice is called away into the upper portions of 16 Pliny argues that the height of those in the South 14 Isaac (2004) 83 84. 15 Isaac (2004) 83 84. 16 Pliny the Elder NH 2.189


59 demonstrates the desire of the blood to leave the heat of the land by creating longer legs. 17 Gruen argues that this with a fabled and legendary history of Aethiopia) demonstrates a lack of proto racist for being physicall y weak, in regards to the Aethiopians, is not as full of condemnation climate, and heredity the markers of a proto racist view is clear, attributing such characteristics as s kin color and mental capabilities first to geography, then as contemporary racism, however, in which the basis for stereotypes is skin color and not geography. As Isaac rep eatedly confirms, proto racism is not the same as contemporary racism (though both deserve further analysis and comparison, see below, While Caesar uses proto racist stereotypes to further his own military projects an one body) lends itself to an ethnographic understanding of proto descriptions of the Aethiopians as dark skinned, clever, and sometimes physically abnor mal assume the Aethiopians acquired these characteristics due to geography, and they then became hereditary features that are not only passed down from parent to 17 In this same passage (ibid.) Pliny al so describes that those living in the north are tall due to the effects of the dampness. Those living in fertile regions are of medium height.


60 offered wi th a more negative connotation in order to create worthy enemies of the Roman state and reinforce Roman superiority. Comparisons to Contemporary Racism discussion of the Aethiopian s and contemporary racist views. However, the origins of these views are singular. Pliny and Caesar both pinpoint characteristics that skin color, physical weakness, and violent natures, physical strength, and lesser intelligence. For both authors, the source of these differences is the geographical location of each race and the hereditary traits that they have attained as a result of their location and climate. In contrast, contemporary racism, while also associating intellect and personal characteristics with stereotyped groups, identifies skin color and ethnicity as the sources of these traits. Racism and proto racism bo unchangeable factor is skin color while proto geography. book The Bell Curve 18 Murray argues that differences between women, African Americans, and other minority groups and white males are based on biological factors. those genes they can be categorized as superior or inferior. 19 Murray uses statistics on 18 Southern Poverty Law Center (n.d.). 19 ibid.


61 poverty to argue that certain genders and races are inferior to others: African Americans inferiority based on biology an factors external to the person: geography and climate. These factors constitute proto racism. regarding crime in his state of Mai ne. Governor LePage remarked that the increase of Money, 20 Governor LePage went on to explain his remarks by arguing that if one knows how his enemy dresses and what his enemy looks like, one uses those certain peoples, but it is not the basis for his description of a particular culture. Rather Pliny relies on unchangeable features like geography to delineate cultures, and skin color is simply a result of that geography. In contrast, Governor LePage is clearly referencing one particular skin color as the absolute base of his argument and, therefore, the reasoning for his ra cist view. While both sets of stereotypes stem from a racist view attributes weaknesses to themselves. Both of these examples provide specific views distinguishing the differences between proto racism and contemporary racism. While proto racist views rely on supposed unchangeable features like geography and climate to explain and argue for 20 BBC (2016).


62 certain stereotypes and hereditary feat ures (like skin color), contemporary racist views use skin color and biological elements inherent to the person as the base of the argument. Gruen argues that the ancient world differed so much from the modern world that the ancients could not have held ra cist views. However, the definitions of proto racism and contemporary racism differ significantly enough to encompass the particular stereotyping unique to each time period.


63 CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION Benjamin Isaac defines proto groups of peoples which posits a direct and linear connection between physical and of peoples collective traits, physical, mental, and moral, which are constant and unalterable by human will, because they are caused by hereditary factors or external influences, such as climate or geography. 1 Examples of this type of racism are clear in De Bello Gallico Naturalis Historia regarding their treatment of the Gauls and Aethiopians in their respective works. Caesar and Pliny both draw upon an understanding of geography and climate that has clear proto racist implications: namely those who lived in colder climates had stronger physical features and were less intelligent while those in hot climates were physically weak but with clever minds. Caesar labels the Gauls based on their savageness and perceived virtus in battle. Pliny al so uses these geographical stereotypes to describe those living in the north in contrast to those in the south, are pale in skin color, with yellow hair, and savage an d fierce. Similarly, Pliny describes those in the southern areas as scorched by the sun, with curly hair, and physically weak. 2 Both Pliny and Caesar use geography to explain the physical traits of groups of people who are native to the various areas they discuss. 1 Isaac (2006) 34. 2 Pliny the Elder NH 2.189.


64 Both Caesar and Pliny describe these features as hereditary and, therefore, definitive of entire groups. Caesar uses this to further his own purposes for his military expeditions, but, more importantly, he uses them as a base to identify the Gau ls as forth his ethnographic view of the world based in this proto racist understanding. Gruen virtus a sign of positive views. 3 While both contemporary racism and the idea of proto racism have virtus especially in the voice of a Gaul, demonstrates that the Gauls themselves believed they h ad strength, but that this is not necessarily the strength of the Romans, but instead patronizing. As has been discussed, the Roman idea of virtus is both moral and physical, referring to bravery and morality as the Romans understood it in mental, physical and spiritual capacities. When Caesar uses it in reference to the Gauls, however, the usage is exclusively physical, regarding their savageness in war. This distinction separates the Romans from the Gauls and, despite sounding positive, serves to lift th e reputation of the Romans for being able to face such an enemy in their own a negative voice, they follow the formula for proto racism as set forth by Isaac: those li ving in cold harsh climates are physically strong, but emotionally stunted; those living 3 Gru en (2011) 151 153.


65 in hot harsh climates are mentally clever, but physically weak, and those living in areas where there is a balance of temperature, fertile land, and ease of weather ar e both physically strong and mentally clever. While the Gauls may be strong and the Aethiopians tall and wise, the Romans truly have the upper hand given their geography, traits, and resultant hereditary features. The continuity of stereotypes across mul tiple authors, as in Pliny and Caesar in their descriptions of those living in the northern regions, also provides support that these views were not unique to the author, but were widespread and well known. As has been discussed, Strabo also discusses the Aethiopians in a way similar to Pliny the Elder. 4 Similar examples are provided by Yates and Eaverly when it comes to skin color. 5 As Yates and Eaverly discuss, proto racism was not exclusive to groups of people from various areas, but also created a divid e based on gender within majority groups like the ancient Romans and Egyptians. 6 were not Roman. The definition provided by Isaac of proto racism allows us to see how they work. Caesar uses geography and hereditary traits to demonstrate proto racist emotionally weak and stubborn. Pliny uses the same types of traits, but applies them to the Aethiopian s to demonstrate a group affected physically by their proximity to the sun 4 Isaac (2006) 37. 5 Yates (2015) 3 4. Eaverly (2013) 36 40. 6 Yates (2015) 3 4. Eaverly (2013) 36 40.


66 that these traits are passed through the generations making them unchangeable and key to ident ifying the entire group. Based on these examples and support, it is clear that proto racist language was not only commonly known, but used in both militaristic and ethnographic pieces of literature, suggesting that the proto racist view prevalent throughou t the Roman Empire.


67 LIST OF REFERENCES Adams, Charles Darwin. 1868 The Genuine W orks of Hippocrates Dover, New York: Adams, William Y. 1984 ubia 3200 1200 B.C. Comparative St udies in Society and History 26: 36 71. Africa, Thomas W. 1991 The Immense Majesty: A History of Rome and the Roman E mpire Arlingt on Heights. BBC News. 2016, August 16 Remarks. BBC News London. DeVries Not the Classical Ideal: Athens and the Construction of the Other in Greek Art edited by Beth Cohen, pp. 338 363. Leiden. Dietler, M ichael. 1994. "Our Ancestors the Gauls: Ar chaeology, Ethnic Nationalism, and the Manipulation of Celtic Identity in Modern E urope. American Anthropologist 96 : 584 605. Eaverly, Mary Ann. 2013 Tan Men/Pale Women: Color and Gender in Archaic Greece and Egypt, a Comparative A pproach Ann Arbor E dwards, H.J. 1917 The Gallic War Massachusetts. Eichholz, D .E., W.H.S. Jones, and H. Rackman. 1949 story. Massachu setts. Gruen, Erich S. 2011 Rethinking the Other in A ntiquity Princeton Isaac, Benjamin. 2006 Pr oto racism in Graeco Roman A ntiquity. World Archaeology 38: 32 47. --. 2004 The Invention of Racism in Classical A ntiquity Princeton. Jones, Sir Henry Stuart. 1940. A Greek English Lexicon Oxford. Ki rwan, L. P. 1974 rigins. The Geographical J ournal 140: 43 51. Lewis, C. T., and Short, C. 1879 A Latin D ictionary Oxford. Liddell, H. G., and Scott, R. 1940 A Greek English L exicon McDonnell, M. A. 2006 Roman Manliness: Virtus and the Roman R epublic New York. McNiven Not the Classical Ideal: Athens and the Construction of the Other in Greek Art edited by Beth Cohen, pp. 71 97. Leiden.


68 Millar, Fergus. 1984 d the Roman Revolution: Politics, War and the E conomy. Past & Present 102: 3 24. Rackman, H. 1944 Aristotle: Politics Cambridge Schadee, Hester. 2008 orthern Europe: Inquiry, Contact and Corruption in De Bello G allico. Th e Classical Quarterly 58: 158 180. Selden, D. 2013 kin. Classical Antiquity 32: 322 377. Shaw, B rent D. 1981 eography. Historia: Zei tschrift Fr Alte Geschichte 30: 424 471. Short, Charlton T., and Charles Short, ed. 1879. "virtus." A Latin Dictionary Oxford. Smith, W. 1854 Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography London. Charles Murray. Southern Poverty Law Center Montgomery. Tibebu, T eshale. 1996 and frica. Journal of Black Studies 26: 414 430. Yates, Velvet. 2015 Biology and P olitics. Arethusa 48: 1 16.


69 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Miriam Patrick graduated from Georgia St ate University with a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studie s in Latin. She has taught in two public schools over the course of seven years currently, receiving accolades by her second year as the 2012 Teacher of Promi se for the Foreign Language Association of Georgia. In December 2016, Miriam graduated from the Distance Classics Program at the University of Florida with a Master of Arts in Latin. Miriam has presented at various state, regional, and national conferences including, but not limited to: the Georgia Classical Association, the Foreign Language Association of Georgia, the Southern Conference on Language Teaching, and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Miriam has also served in leadersh ip in local and state Classical and language teaching associations including, but not limited to: the Georgia Classical Association, and the Georgia Junior Classical League. Miriam has also published and authored several beginning and intermediate Latin re aders.