Societies still tended to equate physical characteristics, such as hair and eye colour, with psychological and moral qualities, usually assigning the highest qualities to their own people and lower qualities to the “Other”, either lower classes or outsiders to their society. Dominant in ancient Greek and Roman conceptions of human diversity was the race in america desmond pdf that physical differences between different populations could be attributed to environmental factors. Though ancient peoples likely had no knowledge of evolutionary theory or genetic variability, their concepts of race could be described as malleable.
Chief among environmental causes for physical difference in the ancient period were climate and geography. Though thinkers in ancient civilizations recognized differences in physical characteristics between different populations, the general consensus was that all non-Greeks were barbarians. He writes, “the forms and dispositions of mankind correspond with the nature of the country”. He attributed physical and temperamental differences among different peoples to environmental factors such as climate, water sources, elevation and terrain. He noted that temperate climates created peoples who were “sluggish” and “not apt for labor”, while extreme climates led to peoples who were “sharp”, “industrious” and “vigilant”.
He also noted that peoples of “mountainous, rugged, elevated, and well-watered” countries displayed “enterprising” and “warlike” characteristics, while peoples of “level, windy, and well-watered” countries were “unmanly” and “gentle”. Come, tell me why it is that the Celts and the Germans are fierce, while the Hellenes and Romans are, generally speaking, inclined to political life and humane, though at the same time unyielding and warlike? Why the Egyptians are more intelligent and more given to crafts, and the Syrians unwarlike and effeminate, but at the same time intelligent, hot-tempered, vain and quick to learn? For if there is anyone who does not discern a reason for these differences among the nations, but rather declaims that all this so befell spontaneously, how, I ask, can he still believe that the universe is administered by a providence? Ham as a sinful man and his progeny as degenerates. Such Arabic writings were generally not accessible to many Europeans at this time. Ibn Khaldun’s work was translated into French, especially for use in Algeria, but in the process, the work was transformed from local knowledge to colonial categories of knowledge.
Khaldun’s work that were not affected by French colonial ideas. Blacks so mighty as Ghánah, the dominions of which extended westward as far as the Ocean. Nile, and ranks among the largest and most populous cities of the world. The last-named nation was followed by a people called Tekrúr.