Going Medieval

This post was inspired by a recent discussion with my internet wife, RVCBard.

I’m always amazed at how many people are so quick to argue that people of color did not exist in Europe in medieval times or that black people for instance weren’t around during the Greek and Roman times. And to include said POCs during such time periods would be unrealistic and another example of shoving a PC agenda down our throats OH-EM-GEE.

This usually comes up in medieval fantasy stories. Like say for instance, Guinevere  in the BBC’s Merlin. Actress Angel Coulby was catching heat yet again for daring to be a beautiful black queen.

This usually makes me laugh A LOT for two main reasons:

1) It’s a huge double standard in that whites can always be placed in stories revolving around Egypt, China, Africa, or pre “discovered” America and no one blinks an eye. Yet if a POC shows up in medieval fantasy tale, it’s unrealistic. Talking animals, elves, dragons, gnomes, all totally plausible. Black people in Europe? Too many people can’t suspend disbelief at that.

2) People of color existing in the Greek/Roman era and Medieval Europe is HISTORICALLY ACCURATE and those who think they’re experts, don’t know their history. AT ALL.

First of all people of color have been in Europe for ages. Think about it’s common sense. Between all the wars, travel and trade that countries and nations have done, it would only make sense that some have traveled and relocated to other lands.

-Many of the Egyptians who dealt with the Romans and Greeks were black. Rome and Carthage went to war and Hannibal gave the Romans a run for their money. Which anytime you can give the ROMANS a fight, that’s purely badass.

-If you’re a Greek Mythology buff like myself, look up a brother named Memnon.

-Speaking of Greek Mythology, look up Andromeda, Perseus’s wife and see where she’s from.

-Blacks actually ruled in some parts of Europe and could be found in Scotland as early as the 10th century (funny how that isn’t taught in school).

-Don’t believe me? Look up Othello.

-Some of the knights of the Round Table were people of color such as Palamedes, Safir and Segwarides, as noted in TH White’s: The Once And Future King. These three were also royalty in their own right from their own lands. Trust I was geeking out when I found this out when I read this novel my senior year of high school.

-Oh and Alexandre Dumas, the author of the Three Musketeers and the Counte of Monte Crisco, a brother.

-I haven’t even touched the endless accomplishments of my Asian brothers and sisters or my other siblings of color.
So if your’e one of those who constantly gripe about the presence of POCs in medieval fantasy as being unrealistic, your history, do learn you some.

Also Angel Coulby has a response to all of the racist Gwen haters:



35 thoughts on “Going Medieval

  1. “If you’re a Greek Mythology buff like myself, look up a brother named Memnon.”

    Neo look up this author named Greg (Brother G) Walker. He did a book called “Shades of Memnon”. Greek Mytho buffs should look him up

    • Well the Europeans couldn’t stand the fact that the people in the Bible are ancestors to the very same people that they was fighting during the Crusades.

  2. The Silk Road stretched as far from China to Rome.

    A Japanese Christian daimyo from the Sengoku period (16th century) travelled to Rome.

    The Mongol Empire during the time of Ogadei Khan actually conquered parts of Eastern Europe but due to the Khan suffering a sudden deadly illness, all Mongolians had to return to Mongolia for the coronation of the new Khan as per tradition. Let’s see. The Mongolians devastated Jin and Song China, India, Persia, and the Arab World (which is the most technologically advanced at that time). There is no way the Europeans, too busy flinging poo at each other, would have stood a chance.

    The Greeks wrote of Indians. Of course, they said it themselves that Egyptians were black.

    The only reason the pilgrims on Plymouth Rock survived their first winter because they had help from the natives. This is possible because one native could speak English, on account of having lived in England for some time.

    Back to India, when I was in Thailand I want to a Buddhist scripture exhibition. It was surprising to see Buddhist scriptures translated in a Greek script (I wish I could remember which).

    These are currently the examples I can think of. Having us in Medieval/Renaissance Europe is definitely not a stretch at all but no, somehow it is while white people learning martial arts from Jet Li and Jackie Chan in ancient China and being the hero is completely okay.

    • It was probably from Graeco-Bactria. One of the Buddhist “saints” (because the term in practice isn’t quite analogous to the Christian concept of sainthood), King Milinda, was known in his native tongue as King Menander, and as such is one of the more interesting examples of diffusing the “East” into the “West”. Likewise it’s worth noting that the Mongols weren’t the first “Asians” to invade and conquer Europe, the Magyars and Bulgars, aka Hungarians and Bulgarians, had already done that before they did, and the Huns were the very first. And depending on which view of history you prefer may actually be descendants of the Xiongnu who were enemies of the Han Empire and its precursors before Wudi kicked their asses and forced them to retreat.

      Byzantium certainly had long-term contacts with China in its earlier phase, and Russia itself derived from the Golden Horde some greater knowledge of Asian customs, with the Mongol Khans for a long time serving as arbitrators of disputes among Russia’s rulers. They did a little too well in this as it’s why Russia turned into the absolutist proto-totalitarian society it became due to the Tsars exploiting this, but it was what it was. Likewise it’s worth reflecting that in Graeco-Roman writings the Germans were considered pale, blond barbarians as opposed to short, swarthy, bearded real men. Likewise with regard to Byzantine views of early Slavo-Avaric confederacies and also of Kievan Rus.

  3. The problem here in a sense is that people have very, very weird ideas about how the cultures of ancient Europe worked. European contact with “Asia” in that sense actually was the reason “Western” history came into existence at all: when Persia conquered a few Greek poleis Athens and Sparta took it on themselves to start playing around with Persia’s rule of its vassals and this is how we got that Graeco-Persian War thing. Later on we have Huns, Avars, and Alans embodying the “Asian” Europeans, a pattern that endures into the Khanate of the Golden Horde and in modern times in the form of the Kalmyks (who were unfortunately shat on by everyone from the Tsars to 21st Century Russia, due to Russian racism). Then there’s Medieval Spain, founded by a Berber convert army led by Jibr Al-Tariq, and whose last unified Muslim dynasties were run by Africans. Even northern Britannia had Africans before it had Anglo-Saxons, due to the Roman Empire’s rule there and the presence of the Roman legions. And if we factor in the whole Golden Horde thing mentioned earlier, much of the largest country in Europe was ruled by the Asian Mongol Empire and it was the Asians who made the rise of Moscow and with it the Tsars of Russia possible.

    And if we go into Classical Ages, there are the Graeco-Buddhists, who may or may not have been responsible for the beginning of sculptures depicting Shakyamuni as a statue of a man, as well as the Beta Israel and Bene Yisrael, the two furthest reaches of Judaism at that time.

    • Oh, and I can’t believe I overlooked this one: the first Arab Empire in the Classical Age was during the Three Empires period of the Crisis of the Third Century. The Empire’s name was Palmyra and its ruler was Queen Zenobia.

  4. I’m suprised that one did a movie on Captain Ching Shih, who was a fearsome pirate..infact she did retired and died, she would of saved Hong Kong from the British. Also what about in the medical field in medieval. While Europeans was cutting and bleeding themselves silly, the Arabs had advance hospitals that predates the medical field today.

  5. It’s almost amusing that the people screeching to defend prejudice and erasure because of “historical accuracy” are the ones who know so little about history

    • Which I guess is the reason why the Last Samurai rewrote the Satsuma Rebellion. Probably so if someone points out how utterly whiteguiltcraptastic it is, they can say “But it isn’t really the Satsuma Rebellion! Just based on it!”

      • Worst off, the mainstream is not going to talk about how the forced a country to open it’s ports to the West. And how the west was playing both the Imperial and the Shogunate. That the both sides have to end the war because of the fact of the west trying to take over Japan. No they are not going to mention that. Hell in Japanese media they don’t mention because some their media is backed by American Media since the war (seeing the cycle). So writers in media can’t show POC in their light because will show the truth of things.

        Note: Better understanding of the Bakumatsu Period (Sengoku and the Edo), look up some old Samurai movies and fish around for some stories that don’t have a slant to it.

        • This reminds me. On a recent re-viewing of Jet Li’s Fearless, I realised that the duel between Huo Yanjia and Tanaka at the end is full of subtext about how Japan’s imperialistic attitudes in the early 20th century is due to Western influence.

          • exactly, so much so that the Japanese was about to ban the Japanese language and start speaking English. Now think about it, in Japan they know about the western stories even drew insparation from them. So much so that they ignore themselves and other POC.In fact if you goto Japan, most of the people know about white actors, but not about other POC. Here we don’t even know who the Japanese actors are unless they are doing Martial arts

            • Well, they do know about Chinese actors if they’re doing martial arts. Or in the case of Michelle Yeoh, can fake martial arts very well.

              So does that mean that the only Japanese actor Americans know are Sonny Chiba? Maybe Takeda Rina too? Speaking of which, there needs to be more love for Manase Juri!

          • I just saw fearless. I originally(and wrongly) avoided that movie because I was under the impression that it was little more than a vanity project for jet li and wasn’t very good because it didn’t seem to get very big. I stopped having that much faith in the movie industry(you would think that the media would do their best to reflect and represent everyone, and givee people things that they want to see in order to gain the maximum amount of money that they can. But instead they continuously try to make fetch happen. It’s insane!) a while ago but never got around to actually watching it even though I saw that it was streaming. After seeing it mention here, I just HAD to watch and it was very enjoyable and educational.

            While I have yet to come across any(I did JUST watch it lol) any “this movie is a complete fabrication” trolls, you can’t deny the amount of complete and utter TRUTH in every poker scene. I can’t be the only one who got that buncha white guys pressuring their one black “friend” vibe whenever the trade company was shown.

            Also, I hope his friend at least sent a letter to moon so she would know what had happened.

            • I really should revisit the Once Upon A Time series. I know I must have missed a lot of things when I was a kid. Because when you’re a kid, you only care about Jet Li’s fighting 😛

              Although with more recent titles like: A Man Called Hero (comparatively recent); Fearless; Ip Man; Legend of Chen Zhen; 1911; and revisiting Bruce Lee, I now see it all cearly. And I used to let white people sucker me into thinking its racist too, when in fact that’s the general attitude have towards us back then (and still do, just not as obvious all the time).

              Apparently for the A Man Called Hero comic books, an English published company edited Hua Yingxiong’s backstory from having his family slaughtered by European businessmen to being killed by a rival martial arts school. Can’t handle the truth? Of course not. If they could, we wouldn’t have white guilt movies.

              And really, I have people tell me that white guilt movies are secretly recist against whites because it shows whitey being wrong. So, being wrong means that you get to become leader of the natives? Silly whitey, if those movies were made for us, it wouldn’t make you our leader against yourself. It would have you killed and driven off our home.

              • mind you in Enter the Dragon. the white suppose to die not Jim Kelly.

                But I wish there was a movie like Rosewood but with a woman and sword fighting.

            • I can’t think of such a movie off-hand but I think Woman Knight of Mirror Lake might come close. I haven’t seen it yet so I can’t really say but it supposedly gives the “Make historical hero into super martial arts badass” treatment to Qui Jin, anti-Qing revolutionary and feminist.

      • The real historical irony here is that they wind up neglecting that in the process of Dances With Samurais they’re missing a good chance to make a story about the rise of the Empire of Japan of WWII fame, which would have a lot of storytelling potential by itself if they’d just stuck to that. But no, they can’t miss the Marty Tzu where he has no business being. If they were going to do that with any kind of pretense for plausibility it should have been the story of Townsend Ward in the Taiping Rebellion, and even then Hollywood would have done that so horribly it makes me cringe at the thought.

        OTOH I think Zheng Guofan is well past due for a movie…….

          • Actually if someone were to get the guts to go and do it, there would be a very interesting movie to be made about General von Lettow-Vorbeck. The only German general undefeated in WWI, the first guy in any of the world wars to fight with racially integrated armies outside Russia, a guy whose soldiers were primarily blacks, and a guy who told Hitler to go fuck himself. For that matter POC experiences in WWI are untapped experiences for Hollywood if it were to ever bother with it…….

    • And of course these same people are all about “historical accuracy” until they’re painted in a bad light then they suddenly believe in “artistic freedom”.

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