1st Edition

Ethnicity and Identity in Herodotus

Edited By Thomas Figueira, Carmen Soares Copyright 2020
    356 Pages
    by Routledge

    354 Pages
    by Routledge

    Herodotus is the epochal authority who inaugurated the European and Western consciousness of collective identity, whether in an awareness of other societies and of the nature of cultural variation itself or in the fashioning of Greek self-awareness – and necessarily that of later civilizations in¿uenced by the ancient Greeks – which was perpetually in dialogue and tension with other ways of living in groups.

    In this book, 14 contributors explore ethnicity – the very self-understanding of belonging to a separate body of human beings – and how it evolves and consolidates (or ethnogenesis). This inquiry is focussed through the lens of Herodotus as our earliest master of ethnography, in this instance not only as the stylized portrayal of other societies, but also as an exegesis on how ethnocultural di¿erentiation may a¿ect the lives, and even the very existence, of one’s own people.

    Ethnicity and Identity in Herodotus is one facet of a project that intends to bring Portuguese and English-speaking scholars of antiquity into closer cooperation. It has united a cross-section of North American classicists with a distinguished cohort of Portuguese and Brazilian experts on Greek literature and history writing in English.


    Introduction Thomas Figueira

    Part 1: The Methodology of Ethnic Identification in Herodotus

    1. Herodotus’ Hermeneus and the Translation of Culture in the Histories Steven Brandwood

    2. Language as a Marker of Ethnicity in Herodotus and Contemporaries Thomas Figueira

    3. Protocols of Ethnic Specification in Herodotus Brian Hill

    4. Emotion and Ethnicity in Herodotus’ Histories Emily Allen-Hornblower

    Part 2: Ethnicity among the Greeks

    5. Mages and Ionians Revisited Gregory Nagy

    6. Freedom and Culture in Herodotus Rosaria Vignolo Munson

    7. Cosmopolitanism and Contingency in Herodotus: Myth and Tragedy in the Fourth Book of the Histories Alexandre Agnolon

    8. A Goddess for the Greeks. Demeter as Identity Factor in Herodotus Nuno Simões Rodrigues

    Part 3: Ethnic Identity among the Barbaroi

    9. Herodotus’ Memphite Sources Rogério de Sousa

    10. The Greeks as seen from the East. Xerxes’ European Enemy Maria de Fátima Silva

    11. Mirages of Ethnicity and the Distant North in Book Four of the Histories: Hyperboreans, Arimaspians and Issedones Renaud Gagné

    12. Ethnicity in Herodotus. The Story of Helen through the Egyptians’ Eyes Maria do Céu Fialho

    Part 4: Reflections of Herodotean Ethnic Historiography

    13. Barbarians, Greekness, and Wisdom: The Afterlife of Croesus’ Debate with Solon Delfim Leão

    14. Scientific Discourse in Herodotus Book II of Histories and its Reflection in the Age of New World Discovery Carmen Soares.

    Index of Ancient Sources

    Subject Index


    Thomas Figueira is Distinguished Professor of Classics and of Ancient History at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, USA.

    Carmen Soares is Professor (Professora Catedrática) of Classics of the University of Coimbra, Portugal, and Scientific Coordinator of the Center for Classical and Humanistic Studies of the same university.

    "[T]he collection as a whole succeeds admirably in shedding light on how Herodotus as a historian thinks about and even helps construct ethnic identity among the many Greek and non-Greek peoples in the Histories." - The Classical Review