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Black Africans were part of The Roman Empire at its height when the Roman Empire included territorry stretching all the way into North Africa.
The Roman Empire was a vast multi-cultural Military Empire with Trade links and frequent internal migrations that stretched throughout the Empire. As a result of the Roman presence in Africa, there was natural migration of Black Africans as Roman Subjects who lived in the various territories within the Roman Empire.
For instance, excavations conducted in the United Kingdom have established an Black Africans lived in Roman Britain from as far back as 300 AD where its clear that people of African origin were part of Society in Roman Britain at different social levels including the Civil Service where Black Africans in the Roman Empire served as Soldiers and Administrators in addition to being amongst the multi-cultural Slave population.
Furthermore, prominent Black Africans made History in Ancient Rome like the Emperor Septimus Severus who was Rome’s first African Emperor.
Another important person from Africa who made an impact on the Roman Empire was Lusius Quietus.
He was an African Roman officer from Morocco who rose from Roman Calvary Officer to first becoming a Senator, then thereafter becoming Govenor of Judea in the Roman Empire.
Many Romans of African descent therefore reached high levels of Government and Society within the Roman Empire.
Race Relations In The Roman Empire
The concept of ‘Race’ as it is understood today did not exist and was not used to identify Black Africans in the Roman Empire.
Skin colour in the Roman Empire simply did not carry with it the same social and cultural connotations it does today.
Rank, Wealth, Social position, place of origin and education shown by one’s ability to speak Latin were more important to the Roman Empire.
In the final analysis, the Black African People of the Roman Empire were the same as all other Subjects of the Roman Empire that were not Citizens or Slaves.
Skin Colour did not determine status, and in particular, there was no link between Slavery and Race since persons of all Races could be enslaved if they were not a Roman Citizen.
The Roman Empire was essentially an equal opportunity Empire where Black African people mingled and competed for success along with everyone else.
In the process people of African origin rose to the greatest heights possible within the Roman Empire because the darker colour of their skin did not determine how far they could go in the Roman Empire.