The Black Romans — Articles on Black History

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septimus-ssWas Septimius Severus the 1st Black man to rule England?

Did you know that Black and Asian people first came to the North East in Roman times? Or that England was once ruled by a Libyan? These and many more historical facts were revealed as part of BBC Black History Month.

Early Black History

Emperor Septimius Severus wasn’t the only Black Roman in Britain. There were other African officers, soldiers … stationed on and around Hadrian’s Wall in the 3rd century.

Black Romans
Black Romans

From the 9th century onwards, there are records of Vikings bringing Moroccans to the region.

There’s a gap in the recording of black presence in the North East of England for nearly 400 years until the start of the 16th century.

Black and Asian presence in the North East of England can be traced back to Septimius Severus, a North African Libyan, who ruled England as Roman Emperor between 193-211 AD.

Severus was unique amongst the Roman emperors as being the first Black citizen to hold the highest office in the empire.

Lucius Septimus
Son of Septimus

The most celebrated example of an early Black presence in Britain is the case of the Roman military garrison on Hadrian’s Wall in Cumbria.

A 4th century inscription tells us that the Roman auxiliary unit, Numerus Maurorum Aurelianorum, was stationed at Aballava, modern day Burgh-by-Sands.

This unit had been mustered in the Roman province of Mauretania in North Africa, modern Morocco.

septimus-severus click on image
The Black Romans

Genetic evidence

It was recently suggested that African DNA might be found to be present in the local populations near to Hadrian’s Wall.

However, this would not conclusively show that the Black Roman soldiers on the wall intermarried with the local population because of the problem of ‘admixture’.

Admixture is a process whereby the DNA of a population becomes diluted over time and it cannot be shown at what period in time that dilution took place.

African Legacy

During his time in office, Septimius Severus legalised marriage during military service.

There is also evidence that that some Black Romans married, had children, and remained in Britain after their tour of duty.

Skeletons unearthed in a Romano British Cemetery outside York revealed the limb proportions of some of the men suggested that they were Black Africans.

Perhaps they might be considered to be Britain’s first Diaspora people, making Cumbria the birthplace of Black British history?

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136 thoughts on “The Black Romans — Articles on Black History”

  1. It is really funny to think that whites still believe they are the first at anything. The ancient blacks traveled over the Caucasus Mountains taking him 20,000 years to adapt to his environment which was clad in ice and a lack of sun, which changed the pigmentation of his skin into what we know as white people. And a Black man colonized Greece and founded the classical city of Athens, his name was Senwosret. look it up.

  2. I’ve read that ‘black spark, white fire’ and must say that Richard Poe doesn’t seem to have the first clue about European history.

    I doubt very much that the man knows anything at all beyond his own Afrocentric agenda.

    Both sides claiming to be Egyptians when neither has a claim.

    Makes me laugh at you all for your infantile debates.

    1. At the university I was attending an Egyptian friend of mine told me that he had just as much black African blood as I had because he knew his history and he knew where he came from. I was shocked no doubt as he was quite fair skinned. He studied Anthropology.
      I don’t like Afrocentricity of Eurocentricity because frankly I don’t see all this as really relevent to any important cause. Furthermore there is no need to be defensive when someone make a claim about how much a certain ethnicity a contributed to the so-called advancement of civilization. This design of life and nature seems to be quite remarkable as it is, so is not possible that some of these non-inventive tribes or groups had the intelligence enough to simply accept nature in it’s most advanced natural state. Has there really been any advancement. Can there be advancement on that which is already perfect. What setbacks have been set in place by so-called advancement.

      1. Listen why is so difficult for whites to admit the truth of the history? You are truely strange people. When truth is exposed to you and there’s not logical dispute for it, your response is always the same. “Why does all this matter??” Let’s be honest the World would be a better place without you. Period.

  3. The TRUTH.The TRUTH.It is unsettling and frightening to the heathen!! Makes him panic senseless!

    Yet the truth still fascinates his devil-filled, junk food regulated brain.

    A mind so twisted and depraved that he has the gall to call himself truth!. This indeed is the devil himself.

    Whether he likes it or not we Africans are recapturing our culture.

    Rastafari Jahdey this is good teachings. Nobody gangs lies on Jah and gets away!Pulverize this devil’s puny mind! Good work Brother!

  4. my message to mohammad ,inshallah you will see johanam before you see janah, allah made us all equal ,the prophet p.b.u.h said if you have nothing good to say shut up,there were many black sahabas, also i swear by allah what you all talk about is in the past , i will show you all what a black man can achieve in the future inshallah because knowledge is power

  5. when the greeks came to egypt they said the races of the world are different but equal and made a statue of a black person on one side and a white women on the other with a leaf that they wore in rome at the time.

    well people know the moors were black and arab berbers are black and arab i know i live here in north africa in morocco.

    blacks lived in north africa which includes morocco even Constantine de Volney (1787)when I visited the Sphinx, its appearance gave me the key to the riddle. On seeing that head, typically Negro in all its features, I remembered the remarkable passage where Herodotus says.

    Colchians to be a colony of the Egyptians because, like them, they are black with woolly and nappy hair…’ “In other words, the ancient Egyptians were true Negroes of the same type as all native-born Africans.

    Just think,that this race of Black men, today our slave and the object of our scorn, is the very race to which we owe our arts, sciences, and even the use of speech! Just imagine, finally, that it is in the midst of people ( Americans) who call themselves the greatest friends of liberty and humanity that one has approved the most barbarous slavery, and questioned whether Black men have the same kind of intelligence as whites 1787.

    there is your proof debate close

  6. Vivant Denon etched the image of the Sphinx of Giza around (1798)

    Though its proportions are colossal, the outline is pure and graceful; the expression of the head is mild, gracious, and tranquil; the character is African, but the mouth, and lips of which are thick, has a softness and delicacy of execution truly admirable; it seems real life and flesh.

    Art must have been at a high pitch when this monument was executed; for, if the head wants what is called style, that is the say, the straight and bold lines which give expression to the figures under which the Greeks have designated their deities, yet sufficient justice has been rendered to the fine simplicity and character of nature which is displayed in this figure.

    had to put a end to the stupid debates about africans not living in egypt or north africa dam people are so stupid. people know blacks lived in north africa like they do today in morocco and other parts just not like they use to even the (GREEKS) said so D A P >>>> dum ass people

    this is the same race of people that think adam and eve were real people and they bit from a fruit that a serpent told them to do hahahahahahaha

  7. In the state pictures of Kaiser Wilhelm I, between the years 1857 and 1870 appears a Negro as a German officer.

    St. Maurice a black moor depicted in Germany as a Negro of the finest type. St. Maurice is the patron saint of the city of Cobourg and he appears in the city’s coat-of-arms. His picture, by Grunewald, hangs in the Alte-Pinokathek, Southern Germany’s largest museum.

    On the most important bridge over the Spree at the south end of the Unter den Linden near the Berlin Cathedral in the very center of the north side of the bridge is a monument no less than eight feet high of a Negro.

    In the park of the royal palace at San Souci, Potsdam, favorite residence of the last Kaiser are several statutes of Negroes, who were the favorites of the Prussian rulers Another painting of St. Maurice by Hans Baldung is, if I remember rightly, in the Dresden Museum. There is also a monument of him in armor in the Cathedral of Magdeburg.

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