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
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.