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The term “Ethiopian”

You may be surprised to learn that Ethiopia and Ethiopian are not native African names. It comes from Greek Αἰθίοψ (Aithiops), meaning charred/ burnt face. It was a common Mediterranean belief that skin colour was determined by climate, ‘black’ being a result of overcooking in the sun so to speak. They also reckoned curly/ kinky/ woolly hair is caused by the same. However, this could be seen as negative (due to living at an “extremity of the world”) , or positive. Homer described Ethiopians as pious and divinely favoured while Herodotus called them the most attractive people in the world. Continue reading The term “Ethiopian”