I know I blogged about this recently, but I came across the item below today and thought I’d post it now instead of later. As to the question in the post title ….


Short answer: No. Anyone who has look at Egyptian art knows that Egyptians portrayed foreigners as that color.

Longer answer: The question arises from a  modern notion of race, popularized by Afrocentrist approaches to history.

That’s basically what this Miami University of Ohio thesis has argued:

Mwanika Ancient Egyptian Identity

The author is Eva Nthoki Mwanika, who works as a Program Coordinator at the Executive Education at Harvard University. According the university website:

Eva was born and raised In Nairobi, Kenya and came to the United States in 2002 to pursue graduate studies. Eva holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in World History and Linguistics from the University of Nairobi, Kenya; a Masters degree in Ancient History from Miami University, Ohio and a Masters degree in Semitic Languages from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Massachusetts. Eva likes to travel and learn about different languages, cultures and people. She spent fall of 2006 in Israel and the surrounding regions. She enjoys reading, movies, music and engaging in current global events.

Here is the abstract:

This thesis looks at the approaches Afrocentrists and their critics have used in the investigation of ancient Egyptian identity. These scholars’ approach has mainly focused on the Egyptians’ racial characteristics. I argue, however, that this emphasis on the ancient Egyptians’ physiognomy is not only an imposition of a modern term “race” on a people who had a different world view but also that the ancient Egyptian self-perception has been largely ignored. In contrast, based on an analysis of ancient Egyptian art, literature and inscriptions, I propose an approach to ancient Egyptian self-perception within the context of the characteristic of appearance, manner, mind, familial and other social relations that have been ascertained from the historical context of the person in question. Thus this analysis provides an evidence-based, non-anachronistic understanding of the ancients, and concludes that the ancients had a non-racial self-perception and worldview.

Think of that: “an evidence-based, non-anachronistic understanding of the ancients.” What a concept!