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museumofmodernerotica asked: Maybe this is a crazy question, but how did Europeans know what Africans looked like? I know that some of the paintings here are of North Africans/Middle Easterners, but others clearly depict people born south of the Sahara. I've heard of Prester John but I never imagined that medieval Europeans were aware that Prester John would have had brown skin. Am I missing something?

medievalpoc:

Like. There are a lot of things I could say here. But I’m just going to do my best to answer your question, and the answer is either very simple or very complicated, depending on your current point of view.

1. “They” knew what people with brown skin looked like because people with brown skin had been there literally THE ENTIRE TIME. Some (and father back, ALL) of “them” had brown skin themselves.

2. “People with Brown Skin” and “Europeans” are not separate and mutually exclusive groups.

3. No matter how far back you go, the mythical time that you’re looking for, when all-white, racially and culturally isolated Europe was “real”, will continue to recede from your grasp until it winkles out the like imaginary place it is.

We can just keep going back. In every area, from all walks of life, rich and poor, kings and peasants, artists and iconoclasts, before there were countries and continents, before there were white people.

Russia, 1899:

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Switzerland, c. 1800:  [fixed link here]

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Netherlands, 1658:

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Poland, 1539:

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Germany, 1480s:

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Spain, 1420s:

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France, 1332:

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Scotland, England, France, 1280s:

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France, 1220s:

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England, 1178:

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Belgium, 1084:

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Greece, c. 1000:

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Spain, 850s:

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Throughout Europe, 800s-500s:

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England, c. 300 AD:

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Scotland, c. 100 AD:

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Italy, 79 AD:

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Greece, 170 B.C.:

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Greece, 300 B. C.:

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Greece, 400s B.C.

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Greece, 500s B.C.:

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Egypt, 1200s B.C.:

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Crete (Minoan), 1600 B.C.:

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Crete (Minoan), early 2000s B.C.:

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Romania, 34,000 B.C.:

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The time when “EVERYONE” in Europe was White does not exist. They knew what people with brown skin looked like because they were there. They knew what “Africans” looked like because they were there, and they weren’t “they”, they were us, or you. I think what you’re missing is something that never existed.

“Some people are good at being in love. Some people are good at love. Two very different things, I think. Being in love is the romantic part—sex all the time, midday naps in the sheets, the jokes, the laughs, the fun, long conversations with no pauses, overwhelming separation anxiety … Just the best sides of both people, you know? But love begins when the excitement of being in love starts to fade: the stress of life sets in, the butterflies disappear, the sex becomes a chore, the tears, the sadness, the arguments, the cattiness … The worst parts of both people. But if you still want that person by your side through all of those things … that’s when you know—that’s when you know you’re good at love.”

—(via missladymillz)

(Source: nickmiller, via missladymillz)

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