The African Origins of Classical Civilisation
The African Origins of Classical Civilisation
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This book arose from Graham Campbell-Dunn’s research into Minoan Linear A. See his Who Were the Minoans? (2006).  The syllabic sign system used on prehistoric Crete, he discovered, was related to the systems of pictographs found by Marçel Griaule in the Sudan, but also to Egyptian Hieroglyphics.  Cretan customs, such as bulljumping, turned out also to have African parallels.  Bullfighting took the author to Spain, Greece, Rome, and early India.  Wherever bullfighting occurred  other African practices such as phallic cults, mysterious mounds (sometimes with breasts) and mask festivals were found.  The problem regarding the red flesh of Minoan men, but white flesh of their women on the wall paintings was explained by the Bantu  practice of whiting females at puberty.


Not only the Minoan language but also Basque and Etruscan show basic vocabulary that is Niger-Congo and all have African hand-based numerals : IIII “four” (fingers), = “tens” (two arms).  Even Greek, Latin and Sanskrit showed strong African linguistic connections. See the author’s Comparative Linguistics : Indo-European and Niger-Congo (2006) for a demonstration.


Particularly important was the discovery that prominent placenames in the Aegean and Mediterranean came from Africa.  Bari and Como are obvious examples, as are Phaistos and Paestum (African Bai, Vai, Pai).  The widespread placename Minoa was evidently called after the Nigerian  fertility goddess Minona.  The author concluded that King Minos of Crete had been invented by the mythographers.


In more remote regions such as Sardinia, the Greek Islands, and Troy vestiges were found of African influence. The conclusion that the Greek and Roman Classics came out of Africa, became incontrovertible.


Herodotus  proved a valuable source and  guide in investigating the preclassical civilisations. A map on the back cover of the book shows the World of Herodotus, and the diverse nations and tribes  known to him.


This book particularly emphasises archaeological, mythological and cultural data, which are more accessible to the general reader, and presents the African Classics in a broad historical context. But it is also documented and indexed  for scholarly reference.

Behind the glory of Greece and the grandeur of Rome lies a dark shadow, the shadow of black Africa.

The first inhabitants of Crete and Greece were Africans, but the Greeks pretended that they did not exist. They expunged them from their history, and relegated them to the dimly understood world of mythology, the shadowy realms of "King Minos".

The Etruscans, who were in Italy before the Romans, spoke an African language, and came ultimately from Africa. But they too were subjugated and destroyed.

In Spain the Basques are fighting for survival : the survival of their language, their customs, their identity. They fear that they will meet the same fate as the Etruscans of old. "One lives Basque, one dies Basque". That is what they say. "Basque is a fatherland".

With Herodotus as our guide we will enter the wonderland of prehistory and explore the world behind the mirror : "that the great and remarkable deeds accomplished by Greeks and Barbarians may not be obliterated by time".

Graham Campbell-Dunn was awarded his MA in Classics with First Class Honours by the University of New Zealand and went to Cambridge on a Postgraduate Scholarship.  There he studied under the comparativists WS Allen and RG Coleman, and was privileged to be taught by John Chadwick, who worked on Mycenaean Greek.  His teachers also  included John Lyons (Linguistics), Frank Stubbings, RM Cook and Hugh Plommer (Archaeology).


Returning to New Zealand he taught Classics at University and researched  a PhD on Herodotus, the  Greek historian and anthropologist.  He has a special interest in Italian substrate theory, and has spent his retirement investigating links between Africa and the early Mediterranean. Graham is a follower of the German Africanist D. Westermann.


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