December 1, 2022

The False Narratives of the Fall of Rome Mapped Onto America

Karl Bryullov, “Genseric’s Invasion of Rome” (1833-6), Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia (image via Wikimedia)
“Despite the fact that the prophet Muhammad had not yet even been born (and thus Islam had not been founded as a religion), the painting depicts dark skinned Moors dressed as Muslims and attacking rather pale-skinned Romans. On his personal blog, early medieval historian Guy Halsall has pointed out a number of the anachronistic elements in Bryullov’s painting which together point to 19th-century culture clashes and racism — rather than the reality of the fifth century CE or the true ethnic identity of the Vandals.”