Ethnolookism as a factor in the attitude of the Romans towards the Germans

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The author of the article turned to the theme of ethnolookism - daily discriminatory practices, which are due to compliance or, on the contrary, inconsistensy between the real appearance of representatives of a particular ethnic group and established ethnic stereotypes and prejudices. The article is devoted to a particular case of ethnolookism in antiquity. We are talking about ethnolookism as a factor in the attitude of the Romans towards the Germans. According to the author, in the ordinary perception of the Greeks and Romans, all barbarians of the same ethnic origin - Scythians or Thracians, Getae or Germans - were, as the saying is, “on the same face”. Experts call this effect cross-racial. From the end of the 2nd century BC the Romans actively interacted with the Germans. Latin authors call blue eyes and blond hair, tall stature and a strong physique as characteristic external signs of the Germans. For the Romans these sings were, most likely, the very triggers, which automatically resurrected in the collective consciousness of the contemporaries of Horace, Caesar and Tacitus longstanding fears associated with metus Gallicus and furor Teutonicus. It is characteristic that the Germans, who served under the Roman banners, became “Romans” in the eyes of their fellow tribesmen. The Germans themselves thought so, and the Roman authorities clearly separated “their” barbarians from those who attacked the borders of the Roman Empire. Thus, within the framework of the political unity of pax Romana, the ethnocultural rapprochement of the Romans and Germans gradually took place.

About the authors

Vladimir Olegovich Nikishin

Lomonosov Moscow State University

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2209-5357

candidate of sciences (history), senior lecturer, department of ancient history, faculty of history

1 Leninskiye Gory St, Moscow, Russian Federation, 119991


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