Gravestones of Scipio Africanus (copy)
Names of celebrated figures in history were often given to the enslaved as a form of ridicule. Scipio Africanus, the name of a celebrated Roman general, was given to a young African servant buried in Henbury, Bristol, in 1720. Despite the very grand gravestones erected by his master, the Earl of Suffolk and Bradon, there is no record of his burial in the church register. From the inscriptions we know that Scipio converted to Christianity and that he was highly regarded by his owners. They also show, however, that Blackness was commonly associated with spiritual inferiority in European thought.