Herodotus and the Language of Otherness Research Paper

Herodotus and the Language of Otherness
An analysis of the role of language in Herodotus' "Histories" using secondary sources.
# 119578 | 2,986 words | 13 sources | MLA | 2010 | US
Published on May 10, 2010 in History (Greek and Roman) , Literature (Greek and Roman) , Language (General)

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Language was the defining element that made Greeks "Greek". It is natural that this thinking would lead Herodotus to use certain words to describe his travels through the east. This paper analyzes Herodotus' Orientalist role from a linguistic perspective. It looks at how Herodotus' interest and writing on language was a product of his time and particularly followed the Homerian model of "all Greek depictions".

From the Paper:

"Herodotus' mistakes are not surprising. Despite the many cases of Greeks deflecting to the Persian Empire throughout history, there is very little information on bilingual Greeks. Plutarch gave two rare examples of Greeks learning Persian. Themistocles was able to converse with Xerxes fluently within a year of his time in Persia; this incurred the jealousy of the Persian nobility for his intimacy with their king (Themistocles, Them, 29.5). This digression, however, shows Themistocles' linguistic skills as another manifestation of his extraordinary intellect. They become an inspiration of amazement rather than imitation (Herodotus, Histories, 6.41.4). Even in the context of Alexander the Great's conquest of Persia, Puecestas is the only Macedonian recorded to have learned Persian (Fox, Alexander the Great, 37). For the most part, the Greeks seem to have thought that the responsibility lay on foreigners to understand them. The caste of interpreters in Egypt through whom Greeks and Egyptians made themselves understood were Egyptian children brought up and educated by Greeks. "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Aristotle. History of Animals. Translated by D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT, 2009. http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/history_anim.html.
  • Barker, Elton. Paging the Oracle: Interpretation, Identity and Performance in Herodotus' "History". Greece & Rome 53, no. 1 (2006): 1-28. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4122457.
  • Chamberlain, David. "On Atomics Onomastic and Metarrhythmic Translations in Herodotus." Arethusa 32, No. 3 (Fall 1999): 263-312. Project MUSE.
  • Georges, Pericles. Barbarian Asia and the Greek Experience: From the Archaic Period to the Age of Xenophon. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.
  • Fox, Lane, R. Alexander the Great. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Cite this Research Paper:

APA Format

Herodotus and the Language of Otherness (2010, May 10) Retrieved April 20, 2021, from https://www.academon.com/research-paper/herodotus-and-the-language-of-otherness-119578/

MLA Format

"Herodotus and the Language of Otherness" 10 May 2010. Web. 20 April. 2021. <https://www.academon.com/research-paper/herodotus-and-the-language-of-otherness-119578/>