No real rhyme or reason regarding the postings; just noteworthy things I come across in the real word or the fake (i.e. the Internet)
lordvoldemortsnipple asked: I'm making a board game with my father, based on Italy of the 14th century, and I'm trying to include POCs, but he keeps saying that during that time/place all black people were slaves. I'm pretty sure that's not the case, but can't find anything on it. Could you provide me some reliable sources to show him, if it's not too much trouble?



Sorry, forgot to mention that the characters in the game are all in positions of power (royalty, ambassadors, bankers, generals, the church..). He’s accepted that there were non-slave black people in Europe, but above that he’s a hard sell…

That’s not even close to true. Even if I exclude Black Kings from Adoration of the Magi paintings and specific mythical figures, here are a variety of portraits of historical figures and events, showing Black people who were in Medieval and Renaissance Italy and definitely not enslaved. I’ve tried to include a diverse range of occupations, date ranges, and lifestyles, and based on their clothing and other factors, whether the person depicted is working, middle, or upper class (a vast oversimplification for the Middle Ages and Renaissance, but more or less equivalent). There will be additional sources at the links.

Alessandro De’Medici, Duke of Florence 1530-1537 (upper class)

Portraits of Alessandro De’Medici


Free Black Gondoliers of Venice, 13th-16th century (working/middle class)


A musician in Court of the Tatar Khan, 1390’s (working class)

The Arrival in Rome of the Copts and Ethiopian Christians, 1445 (upper and middle class)

Two men from Journey of the Magi, 1266 (middle class)

Nobleman at King James of Scotland’s court, Scenes from the Life of Pius, 1502 (upper class)

Fresco Featuring the Arthurian Cycle by Pisanello, 1433 (upper middle class)


Last Supper with Black Christian at Christ’s right hand, 1530 (upper class)

Virgil in the Divine Comedy, 1444 (middle/upper middle class)

Portrait of Domenico Giuliani and his Servant, 1579 (middle class)

Self-Portrait of Andrea Briosco, c. 1500 (middle class artist)

Musician in Perseus Frees Andromeda, late 1400s (working class)


Allegory of the Sense of Smell feat. a Black Youth in upper-class clothing c. 1620s


Portrait of a Man, 1560s (upper class)

Man in Mantegna’s Ceiling Oculus, 1465 (upper middle class)

Man in Journey of the Magi Fresco, 1450s) (middle to upper middle class)


Nobleman in Saint Francis Xavier Baptizing Proselytes, 1680s (upper class)


Costume Design for a Moorish Character, 1640s (working class)


Guards and a Nobleman in Jesus and the Centurion (upper class, working class)

A Bishop in The Council of Nycaea, 1585 (upper class)


A Black nobleman at Dido’s Suicide, 1510 (upper class)

Man in white, scenes from the Life of Saint Benedict, 1505 (upper middle class)

Page to a Nobleman, 1530s (middle/upper middle class)


The Ethiopian Envoy to Rome, 1617 (upper class)


Portrait of a Woman, 1550s) (upper middle class)


My (extensive) art history class did not even begin to cover POC in antiquity, medieval or Renaissance Europe. There was an African-American Humanities class at my high school, and I should have fucking taken it.Thank you for this blog, it is filling out my understand of our global, human history in ways I never could have expected.

— 2 months ago with 679 notes
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