What this article aims to illustrate is that a significant number African-Americans possess little knowledge about the culture and language of our ancestors before slavery, and that we have gradually adopted cultural practices derived from ancient Greece and Rome.This appropriation of Greco-Roman cutlure has happened to a degree in which we have entirely lost our cultural identity.
In order to better understand exactly how this has occurred let’s begin by defining the term Hellenization:
Hellenization is the historical spreading of ancient Greek culture and language over people of who have been conquered by Greece. The result of Hellenization is that the cultures of other nations become heavily influenced by elements of Greek culture, language, and religion.
In this case we’ll be dealing with components of both Greece and Roman (Greco-Roman) culture. Given the definition above let’s now consider a few ways in which “African-Americans” have either voluntarily or involuntarily adopted various elements of Greco-Roman culture and traditions.
Greek and Latin grade school curriculum:
This may have changed over the years, however, during my time in grade school fundamentals of Greek, Roman, and Latin culture was, at times, a significant part of the curriculum. My classmates and I learned the Greek alphabet as well as the names and roles of the entire pantheon of Greek and Roman “gods” and “goddesses”. However, there was very little curriculum, if any, that centered on ancient African culture.
2. Greek Letter Organizations (Pan-Hellenic Counsel; The Divine Nine):
As very obvious by the name of Black Greek Letter Organizations these groups utilize various combinations of Greek letters to represent their exclusive academic and social societies. Additionally, many, if not all of these groups are associated with Greek and Roman gods and goddesses. Thus, the term Pan-Hellenic. Many members of these organizations are professed believers in the Bible, but yet they openly associate themselves with idol gods; a practice that the Bible repeatedly teaches against. Of course members of such organizations are well within their rights do as they wish, but if we are going to have any level of association with idolatry perhaps we should ask ourselves, “why a Greek or Roman god instead of an African one?” (Please note that DOTW does not endorse idol worship of any kind, but the question is posed to simply inspire thought.)
3. General integration into Greco-Roman society and practices:
Days of the week, months of the year, names of widely known corporate brands and logos, religion, consumption of pork and other unclean animals, not observing the Sabbath, etc. All these things are not only products of Greece and Rome, but are many cases cloaked in idolatry. Here are a few examples:
Monday literally means "moon's day", and Quakers traditionally referred to Monday as "Second Day" in order to avoid the pagan origin of the English name "Monday". Máni is a goddess who is the personification of the moon in Norse mythology.
January (in Latin, Ianuarius) is named after Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions; the name has its beginnings in Roman mythology, coming from the Latin word for door (ianua) since January is the door to the year.
Nike, the athletic apparel and equipment company takes its name from Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. Nike, in ancient Greek religion, was a goddess who personified victory, also known as the Winged Goddess of Victory.
Words often used by Christians (Saint, Sanctify, Sanctuary, and Holy): These words are directly derived from the name Sancus. In ancient Roman religion, Sancus (also known as Sangus or Semo Sancus) was the god of trust (fides), honesty, and oaths. His cult is one of the most ancient of the Romans.
These few examples should serve as sufficient evidence that in nearly every aspect of our lives African-Americans either willfully or unknowingly pay honor to the gods of other nations; moreover, nations that have conquered and institutionalized us. When reading the Bible it is made clear by the writings of the prophets, the words of the Messiah, and the actions of His disciples that we are to stay far away from idol gods. The Word of the Most High is undoubtedly true, but it is improperly interpreted and applied due to Greco-Roman influence.
Sadly, even identifying as African-American does not classify our true ethnicity or nationality. The name Africa(n) is derived form Afri ; a Latin name used to refer to the Carthaginians; it also tied to the name of the Roman commander Scipio Africanus, and America(n) is derived from the name of Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian explore who sailed to the New World (Americas). We identify ourselves based on the combination of two words spoken by someone other than our ancestors. Neither Africa nor North and South America were identified by these names until they were labeled as such by Europeans; people who are historically not native to these land masses. Furthermore, to be referred to as black is simply too vague because there are “black” people throughout the entire continent of Africa, and the term "African-American" fails to identify our true nationality. Realistically, neither of these terms should suffice in regards identifying who we are.
The interesting connection between the Hellenization of African-Americans and the Hellenization of our forefathers (the ancient Israelites):
As it pertains to history, in the time period between the “Old” and “New” Testaments, the nation of Israel was conquered by Greece and Roman powers. There are several books (The Apocrypha) that have been widely removed from modern Bible translations, and within specific books, such as Maccabees, there exists a historical record that details the Hellenization of the Israelites. During this time period of their subjugation to foreign powers the Israelites were threatened with certain death if they refused to reject their faith and culture. They were forcibly made to not observe the Sabbath and consume swine’s flesh (pork), and if they refused they were killed by their oppressors. The Greco-Roman powers employed a strategy in which they approached the most respected men among the Israelites and attempted to persuade them to accept their pagan customs and traditions. Strong and faithful men like Mattathias (Matityahu) chose to fight against the occupying forces while many other Israelites converted to paganism in the face of adversity. Thousands of Israelites (men, women, and children) were hunted and brutally murdered by means such as been hung by their necks in their own homes.
In modern American society we can easily see that many “African-Americans”, who are unaware that they are descendants of the ancient Israelites, have been Hellenized much in the same way that our ancestors were. Practices such as eating pork, gathering and worshipping on ‘SUN’day rather than on the Sabbath, and bowing before and associating with idol gods has become the norm. Millions of our brothers and sisters lack knowledge of their true identity and nationality; we seemingly have no remembrance of our history prior to slavery, nor do we have any interest in knowing who our forefathers were before they fell victim to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
Major components of our culture as well as the majority of “holidays” we observe and celebrate have nothing to do with the history of our people, but have everything to do with the pagan traditions of people who have conquered and oppressed us. The strategy being used to Hellenize us in modern times is very much similar to that which was used to Hellenize our ancestors during the Maccabean era. Greco-Roman powers have infiltrated and influenced the minds of the most intelligent and prominent individuals among us. In many cases members of Black Greek Letter Organizations are revered by members from within their communities, and again, the majority of these individuals are devout Christians. Therefore, they are generally viewed as morally righteous and “God-fearing” people. However, in reality, they may be morally respectable in the eyes of man, but they are immoral and unrighteous according to the scriptures. Nonetheless, others within the black community who are not “Greek” seemingly consent to the practices and traditions of those who are "Greek" because in many instances the “Greeks” are doctors, attorneys, Pastors, etc. The inconvenient truth is that “Greeks” and Christians in general, operate according to a model adopted from Greco-Roman pagans, and not according to a model adopted from the Israelites they read about in their Bibles.
As descendants of the ancient Israelites it is past time that we reconnect with our culture and walk in obedience to the Father. Though many our family members and friends remain largely disconnected from their heritage we are yet being brought to remembrance by the thousands. We are returning to YAH and His straight and narrow Way, and complete restoration is imminent.