Today sees the Inauguration of Barack Obama as 44th President of the USA. Much has been made in the press about his ethnic roots and his being the first African-American to hold that post. We have all rejoiced at how far this country has come, how great it is that this is possible. But if we look to our Roman predecessors we may learn that they, in fact, were a step ahead. Emperors of Rome were often drawn from all over the empire and from all sorts of ethnic extractions. Trajan from Spain, Claudius born in Gallia, Elagabalus from Syria and most important Septimius Severus from Lepcis Magna – he was an African-Roman Emperor. Rome was most certainly a cosmopolitan city ready to accept rulers from a whole variety of backgrounds.
Therefore, before we go ranting about how much the world has moved on with the dawn of the Obama Presidency, we should consider that we are only starting to move forward again after going a very long way back.