No the modern concept of Race did not exist. Because the Romans (the core of the empire) were white, and viewed other whites as a different type of man entirely so.....Yeah, there were Ents, Trolls, Gnomes...
Races always existed - race is actually a "subspecies", a biological category. And Ancient Romans were in fact quite racist (going by modern definitions of racism).
Of course, any sort of categorization - except where strict boundaries are defined - is by nature of questionable provinence. Species is defined by ability to provide viable offspring; no such definition exists for subspieces. Wolves and dogs, for example, are the same species because they can produce viable offspring.
You're own example doesn't really work here. (Also species =/= Race no sane scientist is going to make that comparison.)
Also yes, several Europeans were not originally considered "white" until it became beneficial to do so and biases were removed. Some of those biases went to America, hence why some groups were not considered "white" in America until the late 30's-40's.Lol ok, so what was it then?
of course if you knew anything about history you would no this "lol ok". Europe and America for certain time frames did not group certain europeans as "white" that they deemed unworthy or beneath them. That only started dying off after WW II, as Hitler took that to another level.