The Roots of Race, by Anthony Esolen

Public Health’s Racist Experimentation and Eugenics Programs Have Fueled Deep Mistrust of Vaccines – From Blacks and Whites, by Celeste McGovern
June 9, 2021
2,500 Christians Attend Service to Protest California County’s Church Lockdown, by Tony Perkins
June 9, 2021

[Photo Credit: Shutterstock]

By Anthony Esolen, Crisis Magazine, June 9, 2021

Anthony Esolen, a contributing editor at Crisis, is a professor and writer-in-residence at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts. He is the author, most recently, of Sex and the Unreal City (Ignatius Press, 2020).


The Word of the Month is RADISH.

Anthony EsolenI’ve long told my students that one really interesting thing about the Roman Empire is that nobody seemed to care much about what we call “race,” that is, a large group of people, not bound by ethnicity, who share a few physical characteristics held to be definitive and significant.

Let me illustrate. St. Augustine was born in north Africa, near Carthage, the “New City” founded by the seafaring Phoenicians—the “Purplers,” so-called by the Romans not for their complexion but for their most lucrative trade. They made purple dye, compounded from a certain shellfish. Augustine’s mother, Monica, had a Purple name; his father, Patricius, had a Roman name, but that proves nothing. Anybody might have a Roman or a Greek name. Among the apostles, Philip and Andrew had Greek names. Saul, a Roman citizen, also went by the Roman moniker Paulus—Shorty, as it were. …