Black Apollo?

Patrice D. Rankine

in African Athena

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199595006
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731464 | DOI:

Series: Classical Presences

Black Apollo?

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  • Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)


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This chapter provides a discussion of Martin Bernal's third volume of Black Athena, published in 2006, with a view toward Bernal's continued relevance in a changing social, political, and intellectual landscape. Previous criticisms of Bernal's work to the contrary notwithstanding, I argue that Bernal examples the scholarly methods for historical inquiries about the past, particularly as they concern cultural heritage and cultural appropriation. The case of an African Apollo might resonate to those interested in African heritage, and even in a postcolonial context where hybridity trumps “origins,” the study of Apollo's African analogs leads us down many productive paths. The chapter examines Bernal's arguments for an African "origin" of Apollo, like a "Black Athena," and the attendant sociocultural and scholarly problems associated with such a claim.

Keywords: Afrocentrism; Apollo; Bernal; cultural origins; Horus; and hybridity

Chapter.  6555 words. 

Subjects: Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)

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