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Old March 24th, 2014, 10:36 AM   #1
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Julius Caesar and other Roman leaders' ethnicity


What is the ethnicity of various Roman leaders such as Julius Caesar? Are Romans considered Caucasian just like, for example English people?
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Old March 24th, 2014, 10:46 AM   #2

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Originally Posted by Muhammad Aziz Abdullah View Post
What is the ethnicity of various Roman leaders such as Julius Caesar? Are Romans considered Caucasian just like, for example English people?
It's hard to say, Romans themselves were of mixed stock. According to traditional sources when the city was founded they welcomed people who had no home themselves: outcasts, exiles, criminals, anybody. Julius Caesar would be considered caucasian, but his ethnicity identity had nothing to do with race, he was Roman. A Black African from North Africa who lived in Roman jurisprudence and was a citizen was Roman. Originally Romans were what I would say is caucasian, but that term is very broad and doesn't really account for nuanced ethnic identity.

There are cases though where leaders like Hadria, Trajan and Theodosius were all born in the province of Hispania, in Spain. They likely had celtic and Iberian ancestors, but they were Roman.

That is, if I understand the concept of Roman ethnicity correctly. There were 'others' in the Empire who were not seen to be Roman, but Romanized... the Britons and Germans for example.
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Old March 24th, 2014, 12:58 PM   #3

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If you are talking about race, yes the typical Roman was Caucasian. I am pretty sure every Emperor was as well. That is every Emperor had facial features that matched those of Europeans and Middle Easterners.

Now not all Roman Emperors came from Rome or even the Italian Peninsula. As mentioned by Ben, Trajan and Hadrian were both from the region that is now known as Spain. Septimius Severus was from North Africa and his son Caracalla, who would later inherit the throne, was half Syrian on his Mother's side. There were some Germanic Emperors at the end of the Western Empire who would have had ancestry from Northern European regions. When the Western Empire fell the majority of Eastern Emperors would have been Greek or from other South Eastern European areas, like Constantine the Great who was born in what is now Serbia.

Last edited by zwolf1215; March 24th, 2014 at 01:08 PM.
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Old March 24th, 2014, 01:05 PM   #4

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Every Emperor was Caucasian. Except if they were born in Asia Minor or something.
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Old March 24th, 2014, 01:34 PM   #5

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I think we have to be careful about equating ethnicity to race, because they're not the same thing in most cases.
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Old March 24th, 2014, 04:13 PM   #6
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Caucasoid - mostly Alpinoid and Mediterranid;

I. Schwidetzky - Physical Anthropology of European Populations (1980)
On the whole, a remarkable polytypism results in all the Villanovian series. In particular, we consistently find, with even some preponderance in the S. Vitale stage, the brachymorphic type, with moderately low skull, curved occipital, and rather short stature, comparable to the Alpine race.
Along with it, we also find a stenomorphic type, which can be attributed to the Mediterranean race,represented by some particular groups, the specimens having moderate dolichomorphy with rather broad frontal bone and medium stature, which can be found in the Benacci and Arnoaldi stages.

The Italic Romans are a hybrid of Indo-European [Umbrians/Italics] stock and non-Indo-European [Pelasgians (Oenotrians/Tyrsenoi)] stock which is reflected in their Anthropology; Also Emperors like Trajan and Hadrian who were born in foreign provinces were from veteran-colonies like ITALICA (in Baetica) i.e. of Italic stock;

Charles Loring Brace - The Races of the Old World (1863)
The common Roman type, still seen among the peasantry, according to Dr. Wiseman, is a large, flat head, a low wide forehead, a face broad and square, short thick neck, and a short broad figure, such as is found in many of the antique representations of the Roman soldier.

person of Latium (Central Italy) - Alpinoid -[plate: Rassengeschichte der Menschheit]
Click the image to open in full size.
person of Marche (Central Italy) - Dinaric - [plate: Rassengeschichte der Menschheit]
Click the image to open in full size.

Augustus and Julius Caesar
-typical Brachycephalic Alpinoid/Dinarid (Medit. element) of the Italic Romans
Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by Anti; March 24th, 2014 at 04:43 PM.
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Old March 24th, 2014, 04:33 PM   #7
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Keeping in mind of course the diff. between Ethnicity and Nationality;

The Romans extended the citizenship only gradually and very scarcly during the Republican times; In Republican times the Italic tribes were the first to collectively be granted the citizenship after/during the Social-war with the Lex Julia and Lex Plautia Papiria; Also Cisalpine Gaul received the Roman citizenship in 89BC with the Lex Pompeia (Cispadania) and in 49BC by Julius Caesar to all incl. Transpadania (Insubres/Cenomani); Exceptions were made before as in instances of where Socii were granted citizenship for distinguished bravery - like at the Battle of Vercellae 101BC were 1.000 allies from Camerinum (Picenti) were rewarded the citizenship by Gaius Marius for bravery (Plutarch Mar. XXVIII);

It wasnt until the Imperial times during the reign of Claudius (mid 1st c AD) that Auxiliary soldiers were granted the Roman citizenship upon discharge plus the conubium;

The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Warfare: Vol.2 (2007)
Then, from the time of the emperor Claudius, who set thirty years as the maximum term of service, auxiliary soldiers of good character were automatically given citizenship after twenty-five years. In addition, they received the right of conubium, which legitimized any informal union with a woman (Augustus had forbidden soldiers to marry), so that any children born after the man had joined the army were Roman citizens also.

In 212Ad Caracalla granted citizenship to all (except slaves) in the Roman world with the Constitutio Antoniniana;

Last edited by Anti; March 24th, 2014 at 04:38 PM.
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Old March 24th, 2014, 05:47 PM   #8

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Every Emperor was Caucasian. Except if they were born in Asia Minor or something.


And what was the "ethnicity" of asia minor , may i ask?

Apparently you are thinking that anatolia is bordering Japan or something
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Old March 24th, 2014, 06:32 PM   #9
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Most Romans were Italians in my opinion by the time of Augustus as the Socii were granted citizenship. By the time of Caracalla it was "European"
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Old March 24th, 2014, 08:30 PM   #10

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And what was the "ethnicity" of asia minor , may i ask?

Apparently you are thinking that anatolia is bordering Japan or something
Nowadays the entire region is mostly Caucasian, but back during the time of Ancient Rome it is possible that there were Mongoloid people in the area. IIRC Turkey gets its name from the Turkic people who were Mongoloids.
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