“Born in Hispania on the Iberian Peninsula, the Latin poet Marcus Valerius Martialis(or Martial) moved to Rome in A.D. 64 and continued to reside there for over three decades. As he was a keen observer of city life in the capital, one learns from him a great deal about Romans of African descent in the first century. Among the Ethiopians there of whom he wrote were a personal mistress named Chione, a wrestler named Panniculus, a cook named Santra, and a teacher of ballerinas. In addition to writing of Ethiopians who were present at the opening of Rome’s Colosseum and at various games and spectacles, Martial wrote that a number of children in the city were the result of adulterous relationships between Romans who were Ethiopians and Romans who were not. Along with Martial’s mentioning of Ethiopians also as slaves, it would appear that no particular social niche separated residents of Rome with the richly pigmented complexions and tightly curled hair from others.”
— Stefan Goodwin
Africa in Europe: Antiquity into the Age of Global Exploration
(Photo: A Wine-press in Ancient Rome: Black Romans, Source:


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