Romans in America?

Sarah Bowman

Sarah Bowman, studied Arts and Humanities at University of Waterloo (2003)

I had to look up this one. There is considerable evidence that Europeans from Scandinavia (sometimes referred to as the Norsemen or Vikings) attempted settlement on North American land in about 1001 AD/CE, which was five hundred years before Christopher Columbus discovered the Caribbean Islands. But your question takes us back a thousand years before that to the first century AD/CE, 15 centuries before Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Did the Romans cross the Atlantic a thousand years before Norsemen’s dragon ships cut the waves of the North Atlantic?

Based on what I see from scanning the Wikipedia article, evidence is scanty and unreliable but strong enough to make a sensation. A source used by Wikipedia is Man Across the Sea: Problems of Pre-Columbian Contacts, edited by Carroll L. Riley, J. Charles Kelley, Campbell W. Pennington, Robert L. Rands, 1971.

Much more recently, a year ago on Dec 22, 2015 the UK’s Sunday Express published an article on the discovery of Roman items off the shores of Nova Scotia, Canada. I suspect that is the incident from which your question originates. I quote:

Mainstream history states Columbus was the first non-indigenous person to arrive in the continent when he landed in the Bahamas in 1492.

However, over the years several radical theories have emerged that the Vikings, the Polynesians and the Chinese, arrived before Columbus.

[Lead historian Jovan Hutton] Pulitzer added: “We have absolutely been lead to believe that nothing happened on this side of the pond before Christopher Columbus.

“I think anything that challenges history is very risky, very dangerous and extremely political.

“I think we should all fight for the truth and people should make up their own minds.”

He is not confirming or denying that the Roman sword and military whistle were deposited there by ancient shipwreck two thousand years ago. As we all know, it could be stolen property from a museum discarded as the Coast Guard was boarding the bandit’s ship.


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