Skip to main content

Black History Month: Select Books 30% Off

Harvard University Press - home
Black Doves Speak

Black Doves Speak

Herodotus and the Languages of Barbarians

Rosaria Vignolo Munson

ISBN 9780674017900

Publication date: 07/29/2005

In Greek thought, barbaroi are utterers of unintelligible or inarticulate sounds. What importance does the text of Herodotus's Histories attribute to language as a criterion of ethnic identity? The answer to this question illuminates the empirical foundations of Herodotus's pluralistic worldview. The first translator of cultures also translates, describes, and evaluates foreign speech to a degree unparalleled by other Greek ancient authors. For Herodotus, language is an area of interesting but surprisingly unproblematic difference, which he offers to his audience as a model for coming to terms in a neutral way with other, more emotionally charged, cultural differences.


  • This short, sharp book is a welcome, easily-digested addition to the growing stable of recent works on language and other symbolic systems in Herodotus.

    —Benjamin Stevens, Bryn Mawr Classical Review


  • Rosaria Munson is Professor of Classics at Swarthmore College.

Book Details

  • Center for Hellenic Studies