A slow-spreading(?) slur: "_anti_-slant[-]eye"

James A. Landau <JJJRLandau@netscape.com> JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM
Sat Mar 10 19:44:33 UTC 2012

The Roman writer Ammianus Marcellinus, writing sometime between 378 and 391 AD, gives the following description of the Huns.  If the Huns were indeed of the East Asian race (I do not know the current PC term for the race that includes the indigenous peoples of China, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, etc.), then this may be the oldet extant description of what an East Asian looks like to a Caucasian.  Notice there is no mention of eyes, but we are not sure the Huns were of the East Asian race and hence do not know if the Huns had "slant" eyes.


The people of the Huns,[footnote 5] but little known from ancient records, dwelling beyond the Maeotic Sea near the ice-bound ocean, exceed every degree of savagery.  Since there the cheeks of the children are deeply furrowed with the steel [footnoe 6] from their very birth, in order that the growth of hair, when it appears at the proper time, may be checked by the wrinkled scars, they grow old without beards and without any beauty, like eunuchs. They all have compact, strong limbs and thick necks, and are so monstrously ugly and misshapen, that one might take them for two-legged beasts or for the stumps, rough-hewn into images, that are used in putting sides to bridges.[footnote 7] But although they have the form of men, however ugly, they are so hardy in their mode of life that they have no need p383of fire nor of savory food, but eat the roots of wild plants and the half-raw flesh of any kind of animal whatever, which they put between their thighs and the backs of their h!
 orses, and thus warm it a little.

5 Cf. Zos. IV.20; Sozom. VI.37; Agathias, 5.11 ff.

6 Cf. Sidonius, Paneg. ad Avitum, 243 ff.

7 Used for adorning the parapets of bridges. Cf. Jordanes, 24.

   - Jim Landau

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