Re: [tied] Herodot, definition of "barbarian language"

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 16216
Date: 2002-10-13

Hist. 1.178 does not mention the Pelasgians. Here's Rawlinson's translation of 1.57 & 58:

"What the language of the Pelasgi was I cannot say with any certainty. If, however, we may form a conjecture from the tongue spoken by the Pelasgi of the present day -- those, for instance, who live at Creston above the Tyrrhenians, who formerly dwelt in the district named Thessaliotis, and were neighbours of the people now called the Dorians -- or those again who founded Placia and Scylace upon the Hellespont, who had previously dwelt for some time with the Athenians - or those, in short, of any other of the cities which have dropped the name but are in fact Pelasgian; if, I say, we are to form a conjecture from any of these, we must pronounce that the Pelasgi spoke a barbarous language. If this were really so, and the entire Pelasgic race spoke the same tongue, the Athenians, who were certainly Pelasgi, must have changed their language at the same time that they passed into the Hellenic body; for it is a certain fact that the people of Creston speak a language unlike any of their neighbours, and the same is true of the Placianians, while the language spoken by these two people is the same; which shows that they both retain the idiom which they brought with them into the countries where they are now settled.

"The Hellenic race has never, since its first origin, changed its speech. This at least seems evident to me. It was a branch of the Pelasgic, which separated from the main body, and at first was scanty in numbers and of little power; but it gradually spread and increased to a multitude of nations, chiefly by the voluntary entrance into its ranks of numerous tribes of barbarians. The Pelasgi, on the other hand, were, as I think, a barbarian race which never greatly multiplied."

In this passage, <barbaros> (<... e:san hoi Pelasgoi barbaron glo:ssan hientes>) evidently = non-Hellenic.

----- Original Message -----
From: alexmoeller@...
Sent: Sunday, October 13, 2002 3:49 PM
Subject: [tied] Herodot, definition of "barbarian language"

Herodot lib. I 57 and 58 , cf. ibidem I 178 -- so I found it
in Prehistoric Dacia of N. Densu$ianu, 1913

Translation is made by me, so please be carefully with it.
Better take a look in a authorised source or in your own
sources for this.The

"What a langauge used the pelasgians I cannot say very sure;
but if we are allowed to make a conclusion after the
pelasgians who still today live in the city of Crestonia below
of Tursens ( in the oriental part of Macedonia, near meer) and
who once inhabited the region called today Thessaliotis.. and
if we will keep in mind that the langauge of pelasgians who
builded the cities of Placia and Scylace from Hellespont and
who before lived together with Athenians, we would say, the
pelasgians used a barbarian langauge..."

From what Herodot say, we could just understand that this
"barbarian" language was not just everything which was not
greek, but a certainly language. But what about, we still know
nothing. This is why I asked in a precedent mail about a
selective definition of "barbarian langauge".

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