Archive for July 2018

Scholars Respond to SPQR and White Nationalism

SPQR is an abbreviation for Senatus Populusque Romanus, “The Senate and People of Rome,” which was used in antiquity to represent the Roman state. In the modern world the phrase and abbreviation is a symbol of the city of Rome, where it emphasizes that city’s status as the “eternal” city (perhaps most famously on their manhole covers). The hashtag #spqr is used joyfully by tourists, history buffs, and anyone who loves Italy and Italian culture. There is, however, a darker side to the way the abbreviation is used: as Pharos has documented, white nationalists in the United States and Europe have adopted it as a symbol. As such SPQR engages both of Pharos’ core goals: to raise awareness of the ways that Greco-Roman antiquity is being used in support of hate, but also to defend, where possible, that past from distortions, omissions, and misunderstandings that, in this case, threaten to poison a symbol that is a beloved source of identity, celebration of history, and pleasure for so many. Read More→

Re-purposing Classical Analogies to Support Racism

In 2013 Charlie LeDuff published Detroit: An American Autopsy, examining the history and causes of Detroit’s transformation from a center of industry and culture to what LeDuff calls “an archaeological ruin.” A review of the book on VDare.com, a racist and xenophobic site that Pharos has documented previously, complains that LeDuff was not willing to name the real cause of Detroit’s problems, which, according to VDare, should be blamed on “black empowerment” and the “black undertow” that “erodes the fabric of civilization wherever it touches.” This racist review came to the attention of Pharos because the reviewer calls special attention to analogies that LeDuff makes in his book between Detroit, Rome, and the ancient city of Pompeii.

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White Nationalists call ancient Greek homosexuality a “myth”

Eurocanadian.ca is the website of “The Council of European Canadians,” an organization led by white nationalist Ricardo Duchesne that is, according to their “metapolitical strategy,” “against an establishment that is determined to destroy European Canada through fanatical immigration, imposition of a diversity curriculum, affirmative action in favor of non-Europeans, and promotion of white guilt.” A homophobic article on the site reviews a book by the far-right Greek politician Adonis Georgiadis arguing that “homosexuality was universally thought unacceptable” in ancient Greece. This claim flies in the face of overwhelming evidence of the prevalence and social significance of same-sex love in antiquity, but is attractive to white nationalists who want to claim cultural continuity with ancient Greece without compromising their rampant homophobia.

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White supremacist site claims Nordic invaders gave rise to Classical Greece

National Vanguard” is a white supremacist organization that is an offshoot of the “National Alliance,” whom the SPLC once called “the most dangerous and best organized” Neo-Nazi group in America. An article on NationalVanguard.org claims that when “Nordic” invaders arrived in Greece, “an older civilization”—described throughout as “Mediterranean aborigines“—”who had begun to succumb to racial mixing and decadence, was overwhelmed by a more vigorous and racially healthier one.” The article then turns to the “lethal” and “catastrophic mixing of blood” that, it claims, led to the decline of both Sparta and Athens, arguing that “the passing of the Hellenes must be regarded as one of the greatest tragedies of our race.” The article is part of a series celebrating the “heritage” of the “white race” and warning white people about the need to preserve racial purity in order to assure “the survival of the white race.”

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