Julius Caesar wasn't Italian, says historian, he was a black man … from Africa By DEREK CLONTZ Controversial historian Mario Bonafini received hundreds of death threats and was actually forced into hiding after an unnamed insider leaked a pre-publication copy of his explosive new book, Julius Caesar Was NOT Italian. And far from being a spoof, the book is backed up by decades of solid research that proves Caesar came to Rome from Ethiopia and was of black descent. "I printed the truth, and if the truth hurts, so be it, " Dr. Bonafini told me in a trans-Atlantic telephone interview before death threats drove him into hiding late last month. "Caesar rose to power and ruled a Roman empire that still stands as one of the greatest civilizations the world has ever seen. "Italians have always been proud of the fact that they share a gene pool that produced such a man. But my research proves their pride is misplaced and without basis. Caesar categorically was not Italian. He was a black man from Africa." According to Dr. Bonafini's research, Caesar arrived in Rome when his parents migrated north to what is now Italy around 100 B.C. The death of his parents during a flu epidemic in 98 B.C. left the toddling Caesar without a home. By a twist of fate, he was adopted by the influential Roman family that produced a long line of Roman leaders, most of whom carried the generic title "caesar." He went on to become the greatest ruler of ancient times, leading a society and culture that continues to influence our thinking about politics, architecture and the arts today. Dr. Bonafini's book outraged fellow historian Franco Brugnoli, who doesn't dispute the controversial author's research - but argues that Julius Caesar "was a Roman at heart regardless of his genetic heritage or the color of his skin." "Caesar was reared by Romans in Rome and in that sense, he was a Roman himself," Dr. Brugnoli told me exclusively. "It really doesn't matter who his parents were or where he was born." While Dr. Bonafini remains in hiding, his book is poised to sell like hotcakes when - and if - it is released. A spokeswoman for publisher Francia-Samsa said: "This book will sell, make no mistake. The question is, are we willing to take the heat? It's going to be racially incendiary to say the least."