Ancient Anti-Refugee Rhetoric

“Or shall we bring in a multitude of homeless lower classes, like those driven from hence, who because of debts, judgments, and other like misfortunes will gladly remove to any place that may offer? But these, even though otherwise of a good and modest disposition — to concede them this much — yet just because of their being neither native born nor of like habits with us, and because they will not be acquainted with our customs, laws, and training, would no doubt be far, nay infinitely, worse than our own lower classes.

“Our own native born masses at least have here their wives, children, parents, and many others that are dear to them, to serve as guarantors of their loyalty; yes, and there is their fondness for the soil that reared them, a passion that is implanted in all men and not to be eradicated; but as for this multitude which we propose to invite here, this people without roof or home, if they should take up their abode with us having none of these pledges here, in defence of what blessing would they care to face dangers?!”

Dionysius of Halicarnassus’ words ascribed to the Senator Agrippa Menenius in 491 BCE.

It sounds a remarkably modern means of stirring up fear.

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