Martin Bernal's The Fabrication of Andent Greece 1785-1985, the first volume of his Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, has excited more controversy than almost any other book dealing with Greco-Roman antiquity to have been published in the second half of the twentieth century. Its importance was reflected in the decision of the American Philological Association to make it the subject of an interdisciplinary dialogue constituting the presidential panel of their 120th meeting in Baltimore in 1989; the papers there delivered, with additions, have been published as a special issue of Arethusa ( Levine and Peradotto 1989). It is my present aim, while using arguments similar to those put forward by Tamara Green in that volume, to supplement the existing published comments on Bernal's work with some thoughts on the ancient Greeks' construction of their ethnicity. This paper was first presented in one of a series of other interdisciplinary seminars on Bernal's book, organized by Amélie Kuhrt and John North, and held at the Institute of Classical Studies in London, January-March 1990, under the title The Origins of Graeco-Roman Culture: Around Black Athena.
The argument of Bernal's Black Athena sets up two rival models of Greek prehistory. The one, which he terms "the Ancient Model," was, he claims, the conventional view held by most Greeks in the classical and Hellenistic eras; according to this model, Greek culture had arisen as a result of colonization,