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The racial makeup of the Roman Empire was identical to the racial makeup of the present day world. Remember, the Roman empire covered a lot of territory and a lot of different peoples. There were the Caucasian Europeans and the Black Africans. Recently, there was a tomb discovered and its occupant was an Asian woman. How she got to Europe and was buried there is being investigated at present.

The ethnic makeup of the Roman empire is a bit more tricky. There were the various Mediterranean cultures, such as Italian and Greek, there were the Celtic cultures such as the Gauls and many Britains, and the Germanic cultures. these broad ethnic groups were then divided into their individual tribes, each with their unique set of values and behaviors.

Racial distinctions can be very misleading or too vague. Sometimes race does not necessarily cover ethnic groups adequately, and does not cover human diversity properly. It is better to concentrate on ethno-linguistic groups as this gives a much better mapping, especially with ancient peoples.

There were not many Black Africans in the empire as Rome conquered only North Africa, which is not black. It was inhabited by peoples who spoke Afro-Asiatic or Semitic languages. The empire included Turkey and the Middle East in Asia. Linguistically, peoples in this area were mostly Semitic, Anatolian and Iranian. The Europeans belong to the Indo-European linguistic group which include Europeans, Turkic speakers, Anatolian speakers and Iranian speakers. All of these peoples are white. Semites are also white. So we can see how racial distinctions can be unhelpful.

The ethnic makeup of the empire was different than that of today. Many ethnic groups disappeared as they were absorbed by invading ethnic groups later in history. The Germanic peoples (except for the Franks) were invaders of the empire, rather than part of its makeup.

The peoples in North Africa were the Egyptians (back then they were a distinct ethnic group; they later became absorbed by the Arab invaders) and the Berbers. In Asia there were Semitic speakers who were descendants of the Akkadians and Syriacs (who also became absorbed by the Arabs) + the Jews. In Turkey there were many ethnic groups of Anatolian and Iranic speakers. They all were absorbed by the Turkish invaders, except for the Armenians and the Kurds.

In Greece there were the Greeks. In the rest of the Balkans there were the Illyrians (in Albania and the former Yugoslavia) and the Thracians (Bulgaria and part of Romania). Their origins are obscure and they were later absorbed by the invading Slavs. In Romania there were the Getae and Dacians. It is not clear how modern Romanians came to be formed.

In Noricum (southern and eastern Austria) there were Celtic-Ligurian tribes. In Raetia (eastern and central Switzerland, western Austria and southern Swabia and Bavaria in Germany) there were the Reatians, a Celtic people. The peoples of these two areas were absorbed by the invading Germanic peoples. So were the Helvetii, Celts of northern Switzerland. In Gallia (France, Belgium, Holland south of the river Rhine and Germany west of the Rhine) there was the Gaulbranch of the Celts. In Spain there were the Iberians (who gave the name to the Iberian peninsula-Spain and Portugal), Basques, Celts and other groups. The Celts of Britannia were given the name Britons. In England those who had not escaped became absorbed by the ancestors of the English.

Apart from Greece, only Portugal, Spain, Italy, France have preserved much of the ethnic makeup they had in the Roman days. That is why they speak Romance languages - languages that are descendants of Latin. It is not clear how Romanian became a Romance language.

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Q: What was the racial and ethic constructions of the Roman Empire?
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