Did Ancient and Medieval people in the ‘West’ (Ancient Near East, Greece, Rome, Medieval Christianity, Islamate) have any real concept of ‘race’ or act in a racist way ever?
It seems that racism really doesn’t appear in any context until the ‘discovery’ of the America’s in the late 15th century, the subsequent emergence of the transatlantic African slave trade, and the persecutions and expulsions of Jews and Muslims from Iberia at the same time - when even ‘coverted’ Jews and Muslims become suspect because of their ‘unclean’ blood.
Were these events the catalysts of racism? Were there any ‘racists’ before this period in history? I know some groups such as the Hellenic era Greeks and the Ancient Israelites come across as xenophobic in some writings - but they don’t seem to have the same racialistic views as modern peoples (Ruth was a non-Jewish woman who converted and became a Hebrew heroine, King Solomon married a Ethiopian queen, etc). Romans and early Christians also didn’t seem to discriminate on any ‘racial’ basis. Essentially, was ‘racism’ invented at the beginning of the modern era?