• Themistocles and the Voice of the Other

    Author(s):
    Kenneth Mayer (see profile)
    Date:
    1997
    Subject(s):
    Ancient Greek historiography, Second language acquisition, Sociology of race and ethnic relations
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Thucydides, Plutarch, Philostratus, Going native, acculturation
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6763H
    Abstract:
    All commented on Themistocles’ feat of mastering the Persian language. I show how Plutarch’s depiction of Themistocles differs from previous accounts in cultural assimilation and language acquisition. I argue that Plutarch has been influenced by contemporary concerns relating to assimilation and ethnicity. I analyze three incidents: the inscription Themistocles allegedly inscribed on the shores of Euboea after Artemisium (Them. 9.2), the report that Themistocles ordered that an interpreter should be killed “on the grounds that he dared to use the Greek language in the service of barbarian overlords” (Them. 6.1), and his studies of the Persian language (Them. 29). Plutarch either includes events found in no previous source, or presents them in a tendentious manner different from previous accounts. For Plutarch, the Themistocles legend had become a battle ground for questions of language and self-definition. This trend is continued by authors after Plutarch, who emphasize and invent incidents in Themistocles’ life which demonstrate the primacy of the Hellenic language and culture.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Book chapter
    Publisher:
    Area de Filologia Griega, Departamento de Ciencias de la Antiguedad, Universidad de Zaragoza
    Author/Editor:
    Carlos Schrader, Vicente Ramón, José Vela
    Book Title:
    Plutarco y la historia: Actas del V Simposio Espanol sobre Plutarco, Zaragoza, 20-22 de junio de 1996
    Chapter:
    Themistocles and the Voice of the Other
    Start Page:
    297
    End Page:
    304
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    4 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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