In the book, Bernal rejects the assumption that Greek civilization was established by Indo-European settlers who had come from Europe, a theory which was generally popular in the 19th century. Bernal defends what he regards as the ancient model, which refers to both Phoenician and Egyptian influences on the Greek culture.
Martin Bernal agrees in Black Athena that the Greek language came with foreigners who had come from the North. He, however, argues that the classical Greek culture did not spring from the arrival of these invaders from the North. rather, it was imposed upon them by the Egyptian and Semitic culture. This is presumed to have occurred in the 18th century B.C when the invasion of Hyksos of Egypt overflowed into Crete and from the Aegean to Greek. Bernal strongly attacks the classicists of the last two centuries for their whitewashing of classical Greek and claims that by assuming the superiority of Europeans, they had overlooked the swarthy races from the Western Mediterranean and only focused at the vigorous Northern barbarians as pioneers of the Greek culture. In justifying, his “Revised Ancient Theory” Bernal has offered many detailed observations and arguments to support his thesis.
The author has derived analogues within England’s invasion of Norman and also Europe’s invasion of Hun, carefully noting that when aggressive and mobile groups grow, they in most cases end up transmitting not only its culture but also one of the most established regions which it disrupted. Hence, the Normans who were originally Scandinavian brought along with them, the French culture into England, and not the Viking culture as sometimes presumed. In the same way, the Huns pushed the German culture across the Roman Empire. The author articulates that the Hyksos, who had emanated from the present day Kurdistan and expanded into the Middle East led to transmission of . Egypto-Semitic culture to both Greece and Crete.