Racism a Non-Issue for Romans

Discovery: Research seems to show that Roman society was not racist. Artifacts collected for a Newcastle exhibit on Hadrian's Wall seem to show that Romans were not apt to judge by skin color. "Africans on Hadrian's Wall" clearly suggests that Spanish and African people were able to advance into all levels of Roman society. The construction of Hadrian's Wall was a good example of this color-blindness. Very few Italians were involved in the project, with most of the workers coming from France, Spain, Germany and North Africa. In fact, a number of provincial governors and even an emperor came from Africa.

There did seem to be some odd prejudices in Roman life, however. While homosexuality did not seem to be a problem, most Romans did not like effeminate men and the wearing of earrings was seen as evidence of effeminacy.

"Britain really was a multicultural society in a way which has only been replicated in Britain in recent years, said archaeologist Lindsay Allason-Jones, "but, apparently, Roman Britain seems to have been without the fear and menace that is sadly becoming more evident today."