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Black Athena: Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, Vol. 1: The Fabrication of Ancient Greece, 1785-1985
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Black Athena: Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, Vol. 1: The Fabrication of Ancient Greece, 1785-1985 (Black Athena #1)

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  318 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Could Greek philosophy be rooted in Egyptian thought? Is it possible that the Pythagorean theory was conceived on the shores of the Nile and the Euphrates rather than in ancient Greece? Could it be that Western civilization was born on the so-called Dark Continent? For almost two centuries, Western scholars have given little credence to the possibility of such scenarios.

Paperback, 608 pages
Published November 1st 1987 by Rutgers University Press (first published February 1st 1987)
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Apr 30, 2007 Jason rated it did not like it
Shelves: history
I first heard about this book during my freshman year of college. I was intrigued by the idea of the African roots of European culture, and picked up the book to learn more. Unfortunately, I found Bernal's scholarship to be questionable -- he was making assumptions and claims based on very slender or circumstantial evidence, whether archaeological or philological. It is too bad, because Bernal's poor scholarship obscures the undoubtedly large amount of interaction and influence between Africa, A ...more
Ian Chapman
Jan 25, 2012 Ian Chapman rated it really liked it
An exceptional work, although to a slanted agenda. Bernal builds heavily on the work of Astour, whose ''Hellenosemitica'' catalogued links between the Semitic lands and Archaic Greece, and attempted to show the Greek city-state social structure as derived from a Middle Eastern model. It has also been alleged that he draws on obscure Black American publications from an earlier era. Bernal's research is outstanding, but his conclusions are sometimes absurd. For example, he wishes to establish an E ...more
Sep 20, 2009 Kevin rated it really liked it
So unusual, it suggests the populations of Ancient Greece and Rome are systemically the result of migrations from Africa meeting the Fertile Crescent, and his rationale comes from linguistic analysis. It sounds far-fetched but it makes more sense than what the Greeks consider as their origin.
Jun 20, 2010 Korri added it
Shelves: race, antiquity
Bernal has interesting conclusions that unfortunately have at best a tenuous basis in archaeology and speak more to contemporary notions of 'race' than those of ancient Greece. While Bernal's Afrocentrism comes from a noble place--putting African and black experience, so long marginalized, at the center of studies--it is entirely erroneous to think that ancient Greeks understood 'black', 'Egyptian', 'Ethiopian' and 'African' as interchangeable terms about ethnicity. While there was crossover bet ...more
Jun 11, 2011 sologdin rated it really liked it
introductory volume to multi-volume study, improperly maligned by critics as the full statement of author's case.

lays out the basic principles of the argument: that there is ancient evidence for the ancient belief that greek civilization owes something to african and asian sources, and that these sources were crudely elided by romanticist vandals in order to prop up their white power macro-narrative.
Jun 06, 2015 IDJ added it
I haven't read the book yet, but I've check Bernal out in videos on YouTube, it's crazy how all those so called scholars got up set over this book. My guess is.....only the truth can cause this type of upset. Africa had gone through 30 dynasties before anything in Europe existed. One, one thousandth of an inch, deal with it!!
David Ravicher
Jun 21, 2013 David Ravicher rated it it was amazing
A required must read for anyone in Western Civilization
Ricardo  Devore
Apr 05, 2013 Ricardo Devore rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A must read for any classicist.
Aug 22, 2011 Nicholas rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, history
The viewpoint that Classical civilisation has its roots in the older civilisations of the Ancient Near East has been growing and solidifying for twenty to thirty years now. Nevertheless Bernal's work is a landmark in this school of thought, drawing together evidence of all types and synthesising it together to form a coherent revision of the history of the Classical world. Unfortunately Bernal's writing is very dense (understandable perhaps given that he is dealing with evidence that spans nearl ...more
Jul 26, 2011 David rated it really liked it
If you want to read a book that caused controversy, this is it. Attributing the roots of Greece to Africa sounds far fetched but then he gives a lot of evidence and one sure does wonder. He does spend a great deal on how the "white" Europe saw Greece as the highlight of civilization and in doing so, changed the skin colour of the Greeks. This explains the racism of Nazi Germany, but I'm not quite convinced since I never saw the Greeks as "White" folks. After all Europa did journey to Africa so t ...more
Oct 23, 2012 Kirsten rated it liked it
Hmmmmmmm! I don't think I've ever enjoyed researching an essay more. This book "launched a vituperous proxy war over postmodernism in history" according to Kirsten "3 a.m. verbosity" Morry.
Raul Magdalena
Feb 13, 2016 Raul Magdalena rated it really liked it
Con un título muy provocativo, al autor presenta la tesis de los orígenes afroasiaticos de la cultura griega en contraposición a la teoría comúnmente aceptada del origen indo-europeo. El autor arguye que la teoria indo-europea es el resultado de una visión eurocentrista y racista en un momento en el que Europa imponía el dominio sobre la mayor parte del mundo, ignorando y escondiendo o transformando el reconocimiento que, hasta esas fechas, había sobre la herencia afroasiática en la cultura grie ...more
Jose Vidal
Mar 09, 2015 Jose Vidal rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Este libro es más interesante por las preguntas y posibilidades que plantea que por sus conclusiones. Estas, desgraciadamente, se basan demasiado a menudo en suposiciones y comparaciones no demostradas (y en muchos casos indemostrables)
Sin embargo su crítica a la visión etnocéntrica de la antigüedad y la sección dedicada a la evolución de la idea de las influencias proximo orientales y africanas en la cultura Greco-latina es muy interesante.
Creo que es una lectura que todo interesado en el peri
James Hall
The deceased scholar provided a impressive, thought not conclusive, argument for Africa producing the world's first civilization on which all successive civilizations own their existence. He paid a dear price, careerwise, for not letting the fact get in the way of truth. While there was other afrocentrists (Cheikh Anta Diop and G.G.M. James)who contribute mightily to the the cause, Bernal was a respected white scholar. Which made his publication a bombshell unleased on America's ivory towers.
Dina Ahmed
Aug 07, 2014 Dina Ahmed rated it it was amazing
حزينة لاني لم اجد علي الموقع نسخة لها بالعربية
كتاب ثري كهذا يعترف بفضل حضارة ( مصر وكنعان وفنيقيا) علي الحضارة الاغريقية ذات التفاخر والتباهي مترامي الاطراف علي مر العصور حتي اليوم
يؤصل جزور الحضارة الاغريقية ويردها لنسبها الاكبر وهو حضارات الشرق الادني القديم
أولي بنا ثم لأولي بنا نحن كعرب ان نقرأه جميعا وندرسه لاولادنا ونحفظه عن ظهر قلب
Feb 26, 2009 Walt rated it liked it
Shelves: history-ancient
A fascinating account that uses science, archeology, and mythology to promote Afrocentrism. The reading is easy despite the sheer size of each volume. However, there is considerable weight on mythology and "common sense" to make each argument. The archeology and science are solid; but the interpretations are difficult to accept.
K Taylor
Aug 02, 2011 K Taylor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

My understanding is that this one has been pretty thoroughly walloped by the Classics establishment, and rightly so, but I'd still like to read it and see what all the fuss is about.

[EDIT, subsequent to actually reading vol. 1: As a classicist, I'm sure Mr Bernal is a very talented Sinologist.]
Apr 16, 2007 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty fun! (But I'm no classicist.)

I feel the argument is poorly organized. Coulda been a lot more systematic, I feel.
Silethe rated it it was amazing
Jun 23, 2011
Maisha Collins
Maisha Collins rated it it was amazing
Jan 29, 2013
Sheldon James
Sheldon James rated it it was amazing
Sep 19, 2014
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Tony Alexander rated it it was amazing
Feb 22, 2016
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Theodora Vagioti rated it liked it
Feb 07, 2014
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Nov 12, 2015
Bedel rated it it was amazing
May 31, 2013
Ptolemaios Jonsson
Ptolemaios Jonsson rated it it was amazing
Dec 19, 2011
Donna rated it it was amazing
Jun 20, 2007
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Afi G. Osakwe rated it it was amazing
Nov 27, 2012
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Dec 11, 2014
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Other Books in the Series

Black Athena (3 books)
  • Black Athena: Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, Vol. 2: The Archaeological and Documentary Evidence
  • Black Athena: Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, Vol. 3: The Linguistic Evidence

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