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BA G reply to Jerry S. Part 1 ADDENDUM References Martin Bernal

Jan 07, 2003 04:15 PM
by Bhakti Ananda Goswami " <>

"BLACK ATHENA-The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilisation - 
Volume I: The Fabrication of Ancient Greece 1785-1985" by Martin 
Bernal, London:Vintage, 1991, 

"This review of Black Athena, Vol. II appears in: Free Inquiry 13.4 
(Fall 1993), pp. 54-5. Free Inquiry is a Humanist magazine published 
in Buffalo, N.Y. It also published "Black Athena: An Interview with 
Martin Bernal," by Norm Allen Jr. (10.2, Spring 1990, pp. 18-22). 
Ancient Histories and Modern Humanities By John R. Lenz
Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization. Volume 
II: The Archaeological and Documentary Evidence, by Martin Bernal 
(New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1991). xxxiii + 736 
pp. $60.00 cloth; $16.95 paper.
Not since the Old Testament has a book about the second millenium 
B.C.E. generated as much controversy as Black Athena. The second 
volume of this projected four-volume work arouses equal degrees of 
awe and skepticism. 
In Black Athena, Martin Bernal attempts to derive Greek civilization 
and language from Egypt and the Semitic Near East. Volume 1 (1987) 
argues that Western scholarship, operating under an "Aryan (i.e. Indo-
European) Model," has excluded such contributions. Attributing this 
to racist impulses, Bernal countered (in kind) that the ancient 
Egyptians were black Africans. His work thus complements the wider 
phenomenon of Afrocentrism. "


Frustrated with a sacred-cow Classicism, Bernal (the grandson of the 
Egyptologist A. Gardiner), only attacks Classical Greece at some 
remove: he combs the Aegean Bronze Age, c. 3000 to 1150 B.C.E., in 
order to derive Greek culture (a vast animal in time, space, and 
thought) from Near Eastern ones of that time." 


"The Black Athena Controversy: Models of History 
Introduction, Bernal's Models of History, Reactions to Black Athena, 
Greek Mythology

The Three Models of History Referred to By Martin Bernal
In the reading of the Black Athena controversy the reader will 
encounter three models of history explained by Martin Bernal. While 
Bernal is not the only source of information concerning the alleged 
African-Semitic source of Classical Greek culture, he is the author 
who clearly opened the controversy up with his groundbreaking book 
Black Athena. He followed this up with another volume with the 
promise of two more volumes to come. 

1. Ancient Model

The Ancient model was the one that was held by the Greeks, citizens 
of the Mediterranean and Egyptians in ancient times up until about 
1790 according to Bernal. Essentially he contends that previous to 
the restructuring of history by German scholars in the late 18th 
century Greeks recognized their roots in Egypt. The Ancient Model is 
that previous to the Institution of The Aryan Model Greeks felt that 
their culture had its roots in Africa. Essentially this model holds 
that Greece was settled about 1500 B.C.E. by Egyptians and 
Phoenicians. The supposition is that Greeks directly borrowed their 
mathematics, governmental system, language, writing, philosophy, and 
religion directly from African and Semitic sources. Bernal does offer 
one caveat however. He says that while the Greeks recognized their 
roots in other civilizations they also downplayed them in the 
interest of nationalism.

2. Aryan Model 

The Aryan Model had its genesis in Protestant North Germany between 
1790 and 1830. At this time the new discipline 
of "Altertumswissenshaft" (Science of Antiquity) was born. The model 
is rooted in German nationalism and feelings of repugnance concerning 
the French Revolution. This model holds that Greece was settled by 
Indo-European stock. The focus of the new model was on the Greek 
ideal. The Greek ideal was reflective of German nationalism. In 
essence the Greeks were used as an unifying force to unite the German 
people. According to Bernal the need to liken the German people to 
the Greek ideal caused the Geman intellectual community to purport a 
racial purity as well. The constant cultural borrowing and at times 
thievery of culture inherent to the Ancient Model were inconsistent 
with the assertions of the German intellectuals. In order to justify 
a German purity the Greek ideal was modified to show it an exemplar 
of sorts. By limiting the apparent influence of outside cultures and 
races the Aryan Model neatly accomplished its goal. "

Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs
"The ARYAN MODEL started with the Hellenophily of the mid-eighteenth 
century. Formulated first by a German professor, Otfried Müller, at 
Göttingen in the 1820s, in its earlier or 'broad' form, it denied the 
truth of the Egyptian settlements and questioned those of the 
Phoenicians. The 'extreme' Aryan Model, which flourished during the 
twin peaks of antisemitism in the 1890's and again in the 1920's and 
1930's, denied even the Phoenician cultural influence. This is the 
racist white Athena."
"The Europocentric conception needed a world view, independent from 
past predis-positions. The Aryan Model is the outcome of such a 
requirement. It is based, according to Bernal, on four paradigms: 
defence of Christianity, the idea of linear progress (later is 
better), racism from linguistic to physical, and romanticism which 
replaced enlightenment. In spite of existing contradictions among 
them, these paradigms helped the development of the Aryan Model, thus 
transforming the philhellenism to Hellenomanis, says Bernal. The 
starting point is the Ottoman defeat in the suburbs of Vienna in 
1683: "
"The philhellenes were more concerned with the Classical Greeks than 
with their heroic, but superstitious, Christian and 
dirty 'descendants' whom some tried to explain away as 'Byzantinized 
Slavs'. Philhellenes sought the pure essence of Greece before it had 
been tainted by Oriental Corruption (...). The period from 1800 to 
1850 in general was one of intense activity to find anatomical bases 
for the racial differences which every cultivated European 'knew' 
existed (...). Greece benefited from racism, immediately and in every 
way; and it was rapidly seen as the 'childhood' of the 
dynamic' 'European race' (...). This war completed the already 
powerful image of Greece as the epitome of Europe (...). Throughout 
Western Europe the Greek War of Independence was seen as a struggle 
between European youthful vigour and Asiatic and African decadence, 
corruption and cruelty. Turanians of Turks were placed between the 
Chinese and the Egyptians in the hierarchy of races; in the 19th 
century rule by this race was seen as bound to fail in the end, and 
could certainly never result in any advance of civilisation. By the 
end of the century this principle was being applied systematically 
throughout history."

Empowered by such success, the paradigm of races–that they are 
intrinsically unequal in physical and mental endowment–was applied to 
all human studies, especially to history. It was conceived by the 
Aryans as the biographies of races and the rights and triumph of 
strong and vital peoples over weak and feeble ones. "It was now 
considered undesir-able, if not disastrous for races to mix. To be 
creative, a civilisation needed to be racially pure." This general 
conception was brought to the apex by Hitler and the Nazis and to 
such a degree as to self-authorise their massacre of 'inferior' 
races. While contributing to the elimination of racist thinking and 
rationalising the historical ap-proach, Bernal is confident that in 
the twenty-first century, the aim will be attained, quick in some 
cases, slow in some others:

"The attack on the Extreme Aryan Model is likely to succeed 
relatively quickly. The battle to restore the Ancient Model and the 
position of Egyptians (and necessarily all others who were affected 
from such a mentality) on the other hand, will take rather longer."

August 1998 "BLACK ATHENA"
""Black Athena" takes as its subject-matter, two models regarding the 
Greek history. One of these models consider the ancient Greeks as 
essentially European or Aryan, but the other define them as 
Levantine, being on the periphery of the Egyptian and Semitic 
cultural sphere. The author names the models as: the "Aryan model" 
and the "Ancient Times model". Bernal indicates that the widely 
accepted view among the Greeks in the classical and Hellenistic 
period was the "Ancient Times Model", according to which the original 
Greek culture was born as a result of the the Egyptian and Phoenician 
colonization and their civilizing of the local populations in 1500 
B.C. and that the Greeks made significant derivations from the 
cultures in the Near East. 
Saying in his book that "many people are amazed to have learnt that 
the Aryan model was developed only in the second half of the 19th 
century", Martin Bernal writes that the version of the Greek history 
taught at schools was developed in 1840s and 1850s, and that, with 
the outbreak of the north European racism in the 19th century, the 
myth of the "Greece: Cradle of the Original European civilization" 
was introduced, in total disregard of the non-European factors that 
had essentially made up Greece. 

The first volume of the "Black Athena" covers the development of the 
Ancient Times model and the Aryan model and in the first part 
entitled, "Ancient Times Model in the Antiquities Age", takes up 
attitude of the Greeks concerning their distant past in classical and 
hellenistic periods. "


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