“White” Ethiopians were Dark-Skinned

Source: Pliny the Elder, The Natural History (Pliny the Elder) 77-79 A.D.

From the source, “

If we pass through the interior of Africa in a southerly direction, beyond the Gætuli, after having traversed the intervening deserts, we shall find, first of all the Liby- Egyptians1, and then the country where the Leucæthio- pians2 dwell. Beyond3 these are the Nigritæ4, nations of Æthiopia, so called from the river Nigris5, which has been previously mentioned, the Gymnetes6, surnamed Pharusii, and, on the very margin of the ocean, the Perorsi7, whom we have already spoken of as lying on the boundaries of Mauritania. After passing all these peoples, there are vast deserts towards the east until we come to the Garamantes, the Augylæ, and the Troglodytæ; the opinion of those being exceedingly well founded who place two Æthiopias beyond the deserts of Africa, and more particularly that expressed by Homer8, who tells us that the Æthiopians are divided into two nations, those of the east and those of the west. The river Nigris has the same characteristics as the Nile; it produces the calamus, the papyrus, and just the same animals, and it rises at the same seasons of the year. Its source is between the Tarrælian Æthiopians and the Œcalicæ. Magium, the city of the latter people, has been placed by some writers amid the deserts, and, next to them the Atlantes; then the Ægipani, half men, half beasts, the Blemmyæ9, the Gamphasantes, the Satyri, and the Himantopodes.

The Atlantes10, if we believe what is said, have lost all characteristics of humanity; for there is no mode of distinguishing each other among them by names, and as they look upon the rising and the setting sun, they give utterance to direful imprecations against it, as being deadly to themselves and their lands; nor are they visited with dreams11, like the rest of mortals. The Troglodytæ make excavations in the earth, which serve them for dwellings; the flesh of serpents is their food; they have no articulate voice, but only utter a kind of squeaking noise12; and thus are they utterly destitute of all means of communication by language. The Garamantes have no institution of marriage among them, and live in promiscuous concubinage with their women. The Augylæ worship no deities13 but the gods of the infernal regions. The Gamphasantes, who go naked, and are unacquainted with war14, hold no intercourse whatever with strangers. The Blemmyæ are said to have no heads, their mouths and eyes being seated in their breasts. The Satyri15, beyond their figure, have nothing in common with the manners of the human race, and the form of the Ægipani16 is such as is commonly represented in paintings. The Himantopodes17 are a race of people with feet resembling thongs, upon which they move along by nature with a serpentine, crawling kind of gait. The Pharusii, descended from the ancient Persians, are said to have been the companions of Hercules when on his expedition to the Hesperides. Beyond the above, I have met with nothing relative to Africa18 worthy of mention.

1 The greater portion of this Chapter is extracted almost verbatim from the account given by Mela. Ptolemy seems to place the Liby-Egyptians to the south of the Greater and Lesser Oasis, on the route thence to Darfour.

2 Or “White Æthiopians,” men though of dark complexion, not negroes. Marcus is of opinion that the words “intervenientibus desertis” refer to the tract of desert country lying between the Leucæthiopians and the Liby-Egyptians, and not to that between the Gætulians on the one hand and the Liby-Egyptians and the Leucæthiopians on the other.

3 Meaning to the south and the south-east of these three nations, according to Marcus. Rennel takes the Leucæthiopians to be the present Mandingos of higher Senegambia: Marcus however thinks that they are the Azanaghis, who dwell on the edge of the Great Desert, and are not of so black a complexion as the Mandingos.”

This source confirms that “whiteEthiopians were a dark-skinned people, but it doesn’t mean they were the darkest of peoples. This is in accordance with the “dark colorization” ancient Greco-Roman thinkers placed different dark-skinned peoples into like Ethiopians, Indians, Moors, Egyptians, Colchians, and the others who were dark-skinned peoples of varying shades and hair textures.

This source can serve as a reminder that “white” people in ancient and medieval Africa were not necessarily “white”, but they were black/dark-skinned peoples of lighter shades than other black/dark-skinned peoples or they were ethnically/racially mixed people.

By Black History In The Bible

"And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God." - John 8:45-47

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