The publication by Martin Bernal in 1987 and 1991 of the two volumes of Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization gave widespread attention to a series of claims about the relationship between ancient Greek civilization and, therefore, of the Western Civilization that sprang from it, and that of ancient Egypt. Bernal was not trained as a classical scholar nor as a historian of the ancient world, but his position as a professor at Cornell University and his two volumes, packed with footnotes and intricate arguments, lent a respectability to a set of assertions and an interpretation of the past that had previously been ignored almost entirely. These claims include, among other notions, that the people who developed and lived in the ancient Egyptian civilization were black Africans and that the Athenian Socrates and the Macedonian Cleopatra descended from black African ancestors. Some writers assert that Egyptians invaded Greece in the...


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