Bernal, Martin. Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization. 3 vols. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1987.


Both of you: Read pp. 1-10 in Black Athena and then look over parts of the rest of it to just get an idea of the work.  I have only included a tiny portion of the 3 volume text.



Here is the Wiki article:


Travis: Pro-Black-Athena -

Read this article by Mudimbe:  He is critical, but gives a nice overview and seems to have a balanced view of things. 

Read this article by Bowersock:

Optional: Here is an article in which Bernal defends his theory against a prominent critic:

In your presentation, try to be as kind to Bernal's theory as you can.  Argue for him.



Mike: Anti-Black-Athena

-Read this article by Kristeller:  He is very old school and very disturbed by Bernal's theory. 

-Optional: Read this review by Lesko: He hated it.

- Search the web and see what you can find.

-You could also look at this from a genetic point of view.  Does Greek blood contain any evidence of African genes?              

Here is a NeoEugenics statement that may be of interest, as this crowd does not want any African blood in Greece.

Here is a more reputable study on genetic issues that bear on this topic:,Diffusion...NeolithizationEurope.pdf This one is a bit hard to read, but you could probably get some things from it here and there.  Depending on how you read this data, it could be pro or anti Black Athena.


In your presentation, argue against Bernal's theory in any and every way you can come up with. 


Here is some general genetic stuff that I've found here and there.  Both of you might find something to support your position in these.



(Cavalli-Sforza, Menozzi and Piazza, 1994)


Cavalli-Sforza, himself, has said, "the idea of race in the human species serves no purpose" and that his research is "expected to undermine the popular belief that there are clearly defined races, [and] to contribute to the elimination of racism". He has also said, “The classification into races has proved to be a futile exercise for reasons that were already clear to Darwin. Human races are still extremely unstable entities in the hands of modern taxonomists, who define from 3 to 60 more races. To some extent, this latitude depends on the personal preference of taxonomists, who may choose to be 'lumpers' or 'splitters'. Although there is no doubt that there is only one human species, there are clearly no objective reasons for stopping at any particular level of taxonomic splitting. In fact, the analysis we carry out..for the purposes of evolutionary study shows that the level at which we stop our classification is completely arbitrary." (Cavalli-Sforza, Menozzi, and Piazza, 1994, p. 19).

and another..


(Di Giacomo et al., Mol Phyl Evol, 2003;

Helgason et al., Am J Hum Genet, 2000)


In a sample of 366 Greeks from thirteen locations in continental Greece, Crete, Lesvos and Chios, a single African haplogroup A Y-chromosome was found (0.3%). This marks the only instance to date of sub-Saharan DNA being discovered in Greece. In another sample of 42 Greeks, one sequence of the Siberian Tat-C haplogroup turned up. Note that other studies with larger sample populations have failed to detect this paternal marker in the Greek gene pool (e.g. Malaspina et al. 2000; Weale et al. 2001), and that its frequencies are actually much higher in Scandinavian and Slavic populations.


Me: Notice that there are 4 quadrants: Caucasoids in the upper right, Negroids in the lower right, North East Asians in the upper left, and South East Asians (including South Chinese) and Pacific Islanders in the lower left.


Me: Notice that all the categories in Caucasoids are not similarly diversified in the Negroid category.  Where are Ethiopians, Egyptians, Somalians, Moroccans, … We have Greek, Italian, and Iranian…?  One must be suspicious when all the labels are simply arbitrary assignments.  12 Caucasoid types, only 6 Negroid. 




The bigger question is, “What makes people identify with each other or how do people identify themselves?”


Do our genes define us, end of story?


Is it genetic identity or is it cultural identity or is it language or geography?  Is this fight important or just an interesting piece of trivia?