Skip to content

Myths of Black Romans in Britain

Early this month the BBC again became the centre of a controversy over its latest cartoon to ‘educate’ schoolchildren about life in Roman Britain. A main figure in this latest BBC brainwashing exercise was a high-ranking black soldier in its depiction of a “typical Roman family”.

Into the arena to defend the BBC against many criticisms on Twitter stepped Professor Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at Cambridge and also a Professor of Ancient Literature. She said the cartoon was “indeed pretty accurate”, adding that “there’s plenty of firm evidence for ethnic diversity in Roman Britain”.

She was on BBC’s Question Time in 2013 and 2015 where she led the argument for increasing immigration (including non-European). Going back to 2001 she indicated that she thought that the Islamic inspired destruction of the Twin Towers and the murder of several thousand people was “payback time” for some of the injustices America had inspired against Arab people. No wonder one of her fiercest critics in the latest Roman controversy was a US-Lebanese economist, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who described her as a member of the “politically correct Gestapo”. He claimed that “scholarship is dead in the UK.” A further indication of Professor Beard’s political beliefs which appears to have influenced her historical studies is that in July 2015 she publicly endorsed the Marxist Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign to lead the Labour Party.

I am not a misogynist who hates women and therefore I condemn those twitterers who indulged in anti-feminist attacks on her, including the Professor’s lack of make-up and no attempts to hide her grey hair. That is her choice. But I will attack her twisting of her historical knowledge in order to make it conform to her dedicated political stance. She has played a prominent part in warping the social-political actions of at least two generations of our university students.

The ‘African’ Roman Emperor

History students of today are taught that Septimius Severus (AD 145-211) was the first African emperor of Rome. This came about because the fertile strip of the African continent that lies north of the Sahara desert and stretches from modern day Morocco to Libya was officially referred to in Roman times as the “African Colony”. Thus, if you were born in that Roman colony you could be called an “African”. Our interest in Severus was that he took up arms against the Caledonians in AD 208 after they overran Hadrian’s Wall. He was cremated in Eboracum (modern-day York), then the capital of Roman Britain.

Severus was born in Leptis Magna, Rome’s main settlement in what is now the east of Libya that adjoins Tunis and is the site of Roman Carthage, the first settlement there in 146 BC. I am sure that Professor Beard must have known that Severus’s great-grandfather, Septimius Macer , from a distinguished Berber family, was born nearby. (from the work of A.R.Birling “Septimius Severus the African Emperor”, published 1999). The mother of Severus himself was of direct descent of an ancient Rome-based Roman clan. The Berbers lived in North Africa for at least 2,000 years before the arrival of Arabs or any sub-Saharan black Africans and are described as more akin to modern Spaniards or Sicilians. A glance at the photo of a marble bust of Septimius Severus, reproduced here from a Wikipedia report, shows that he is about as black as I am!

Following her abuse on Twitter Professor Beard wrote a blog post in which she explained that she thought the BBC cartoon character was loosely based on Quintus Lollius Urbicus, a man from what is now Algeria, who became governor of Britain around AD 139. Making her plea that Britain under Roman rule became “culturally and ethnically diverse”, she then mentions Quintus Lollius Urbicus who had met Severus on Hadrian’s Wall. She tells us he was an Ethiopian. They are quite black you know. Actually he was born of a Berber family in Tiddis, near Numidia in what is modern-day Algeria! She is a top historian who surely knew that this was nowhere near African Ethiopia. Was it a rushed statement under stress on her part, or was it done deliberately because she thought that most UK readers would think that Numidia sounds like a place name somewhere south of the Sudan. I leave it up to my readers to judge.

Inventiveness and Black History

What we are seeing is a part of the ‘long march through the institutions ‘ inaugurated by the Marxist Frankfurt School to maintain their constant onslaught on western culture. The compulsory teaching of black history in British and American schools is an important sector of this attack. In the UK pupils are taught about the slave trade and the British Empire to “help them understand modern-day issues such as immigration”. The objective here is that by devious means it can be shown that if you oppose mass immigration into 21st century Britain you somehow support the abomination of slavery and also condone the killing of Jews in WW2. Although children are now being taught about the achievements of several minor black people from history, Winston Churchill is now omitted from the list of figures that must be studied. How the history of WW2 and the British Empire can be taught without mentioning Winston Churchill beggars belief.