August 27, 2008

New Book Explores ‘The African Origins of Classical Civilisation’

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, Aug. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The theatre of Dionysus. Roman gladiator shows. The Olympics. These are just a few of the storied pieces of Greek and Roman myth and history that continue to shape events and customs today in the modern world. But would you believe that all of the above actually have origins in Africa? And that Africa is the actual birthplace of the Greek and Roman classics?

Author, scholar and lecturer GJK Campbell-Dunn explores the possibilities with his fascinating new book, "The African Origins of Classical Civilisation" (published by AuthorHouse -- Campbell-Dunn explains:

    Today the Greek and Roman Classics have become like a museum in which    nothing ever changes, and it is forbidden to touch the exhibits.    Similarly, the rigid Egyptian Canon and stuffy orthodoxies surrounding    Niger-Congo languages are inhibiting the progress of knowledge.  We are    like a silent congregation sitting in some dusty church, listening to a    sermon repeated ad infinitum.  The reality behind the Classics, however,    is vital, sometimes shocking.  Even the terrible deeds of mythology had a    factual basis.    
In "The African Origins of Classical Civilisation," Campbell-Dunn invokes history, mythology, archaeology, anthropology, genetics and linguistics to offer an African explanation for cultural phenomena attributed to the Greco-Roman world. He examines the hard evidence that has made for some amazing new discoveries regarding the classics. Among the most striking is the truth surrounding the fabled King Minos of Crete, who Campbell-Dunn explains was a woman, a fertility goddess and a witch. Also of particular interest is the author's discussion of the theatre of Dionysus, which developed from simple African dramatic performances with men playing female parts. He points out that "Greek comedy, with its bawdy big phalli and padded costumes, arises from African fertility festivals." Campbell-Dunn reveals how the famed Roman gladiator shows were taken over from the Etruscans, who celebrated them at their funeral games, and how the Olympic games, like Greek comedy, also arose from fertility festivals. Athletes once competed for a wife.

Written in a manner that makes it accessible to the general reader while also providing plenty of detailed material for scholarly reference, "The African Origins of Classical Civilisation" is a fascinating read that answers many questions and poses many new ones.

"It has been said that truth is stranger than fiction," Campbell-Dunn writes. "The truth behind mythology goes deeper than a bald, factual narrative."

GJK Campbell-Dunn holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree in classics from the University of New Zealand, a bachelor's and master's degree from the University of Cambridge, and a doctorate from the University of Canterbury. Now retired, he was a lecturer in the classics for many years and is the author of numerous publications, including his 2006 book "Who Were The Minoans? An African Answer" (also published by AuthorHouse). For more information, visit

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