The classics professor’s naysayers refuse to believe ancient civilisations could have been anything but Caucasian, but there is evidence that proves them wrong

The wonderful Mary Beard has been sucked into another Twitter row – where she faced, in her words, “unnecessary insult, misogyny and language of war”. This latest tussle has been about her defence (which, as usual, was measured, graceful and – above all – well-informed) of a BBC cartoon showing a Roman British family with a black father. For some people this was infuriating, disgusting: a politically correct piece of anachronistic nonsense, throwing modern multicultural values back on to the past. And yet, as Prof Beard has pointed out, of course it is perfectly possible, even pretty likely, that such families existed in Roman Britain, and an entirely reasonable thing for the BBC cartoon to have posited.

Related: Mary Beard abused on Twitter over Roman Britain’s ethnic diversity

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