What Color Will the Child Be?

“[There were] concerns and conversations about how dark [Archie’s] skin might be when he’s born.”–Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

“I was a bit shocked. That was right at the beginning . . . ’What will the kids look like?’”–Harry, Duke of Sussex

Aristotle. History of Animals. VII.6

“Children look like their parents or their ancestors, though in some instances they look like none of them at all. Parents even pass their features through multiple generations, as was the case with the woman in Sicily who committed adultery with a black man: her daughter was not born black, but her daughter’s child was.”

Καὶ ἐοικότες δὲ τοῖς γεννήσασιν ἢ τοῖς ἄνωθεν γονεῦσιν, ὁτὲ δ’οὐδὲν οὐδενί.
Ἀποδίδωσι δὲ καὶ διὰ πλειόνων γενῶν, οἷον ἐν Σικελίᾳ ἡ τῷ Αἰθίοπι μοιχευθεῖσα· ἡ μὲν γὰρ θυγάτηρ ἐγένετο οὐκ Αἰθίοψ, τὸ δ’ ἐκ ταύτης.

Asclepiades. Greek Anthology. 5.210

Didyme grabbed me with her eyes.
I melt, wax near fire, seeing her beauty.
So what if she’s black!
Coals are too, but we heat them
And they glow like rosebuds!

Τὠφθαλμῷ Διδύμη με συνήρπασεν: ὤμοι, ἐγὼ δὲ
τήκομαι, ὡς κηρὸς πὰρ πυρί, κάλλος ὁρῶν.
εἰ δὲ μέλαινα, τί τοῦτο; καὶ ἄνθρακες: ἀλλ᾽ὅτε κείνους
θάλψωμεν, λάμπους᾽ ὡς ῥόδεαι κάλυκες.

Picture of Meghan and Harry and their baby.
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Larry Benn has a B.A. in English Literature from Harvard College, an M.Phil in English Literature from Oxford University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. Making amends for a working life misspent in finance, he’s now a hobbyist in ancient languages and blogs at featsofgreek.blogspot.com.

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