On February 27 the Times Online from Britain published what it hailed as amazing proof that 4th century Britain was “multicultural” and “diverse” during the Roman occupation of the island nation. This “new” revelation came from a recent scientific investigation into the burial in York of an African woman. The problem with this whole report is that it does not at all show that Britain was “multicultural” in the 4th century. The truth is the newspaper misapplied the word “multicultural” to this burial in an effort to celebrate the politically correct ideal of multiculturalism as it exists today.
There is nothing as ahistorcal as applying today’s standards and ideas to the past, but The Times falls headlong into this trap in an effort to show that the Romans were somehow just like us today in their acceptance of “multiculturalism.” The problem, of course, is that Rome did not accept other cultures in the same way that Britain’s modern, self-destructive dalliance in “multiculturalism” does.
The story of the 4th century burial is very informative and interesting, to be sure. Originally found in 1901 in Bootham, York, the grave was buried in what was a Roman fortress and settlement named Eboracum, founded in AD71. The researchers found that an African woman (or one of mixed-race, they couldn’t be sure) was buried in a stone sarcophagus and laid to rest with several of her possessions proving that she was a person of wealth and station in life. The medical examination of the skeleton also seemed to show that the woman did not live a life of strenuous labor. A Latin inscription on one of her possessions indicates that she may have been a Christian, too.
It is well known that throughout the Roman Empire many African soldiers filled the ranks of the Roman legions and that some of them became officers of high rank. It is likely that this woman was the wife of one of these Roman officers of African descent.
So what does the Times and its quoted researcher make of this wealthy black woman from Britain’s 4th century society?
Archaeologists have discovered that wealthy black Africans lived in Roman Britain in one of the country’s earliest examples of multiculturalism.
Hella Eckardt, who carried out the study, said: “Multicultural Britain is not just a phenomenon of more modern times. Analysis of the ‘Ivory Bangle Lady’ and others like her, contradicts assumptions about the make-up of Roman-British populations as well as the view that African immigrants were of low status, male and likely to have been slaves.”
Dr Eckardt continued: “We’re looking at a population mix which is much closer to contemporary Britain than previous historians had suspected. In the case of York, the Roman population may have had more diverse origins than the city has now.
These are non sequitur assumptions and prove that neither the Times nor this foolish Dr. Hella Eckardt should be taken as informed, worthy sources of information.
Romans did not consider their conquered peoples as having cultures worth celebrating and nurturing. To be ROMAN was the goal and they did not just willy nilly accept into their own culture all the customs and practices of the lowly peoples that were taken over. Only today is there an abdication of local, western customs and practices so that immigrant’s cultural influences can prevail, this is now the case with Britain’s (and the west’s) self-hating practice of “multiculturalism.”
This rich black woman was not wealthy because she was “multicultural,” she was wealthy because she observed the Roman’s rules. She did not move to Britain to bring all her African practices with her, she did not become a woman of station in 4th century Roman Britain because she retained her multicultural identity, thumbing her nose at Roman practices.
Did the Roman Empire consist people of many cultures? Of course. Did some of those cultures influence Roman practice and custom. Over the long term they did, most certainly. In fact, that is the history of mankind. Man’s history is a repetition of the actions of conquering a people, then living with them, followed by a taking of the best ideas and practices (as well as languages) from that conquered people and incorporating them into a new, stronger society. But this is not “multiculturalism” as now so sadly celebrated by the PC set.
Further, the history of the Roman Empire spanned many hundreds of years. Tolerance for local customs, religions, languages, and the like waxed and waned with the times and the whims of the Emperors back in Rome. So, to present 4th century Britain as multicultural in today’s terms is absurd as the climate for the other-than-Roman was not a fixed quantity.