Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Herodotus and his WorldEssays from a Conference in Memory of George Forrest$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Peter Derow and Robert Parker

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199253746

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199253746.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 02 August 2021

Herodotos (and others) on Pelasgians: Some Perceptions of Ethnicity

Herodotos (and others) on Pelasgians: Some Perceptions of Ethnicity

(p.103) 7 Herodotos (and others) on Pelasgians: Some Perceptions of Ethnicity
Herodotus and his World

Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the Greek construction of the Pelasgians. It focuses on the perceptions of the Pelasgians, not their historical reality, if any. In the past some scholars tried to reconstruct the Pelasgians' history, sometimes separating the ‘real Pelasgians’ from the theoretical Pelasgians. But such attempts are methodologically flawed, for what we have about the Pelasgians is myths; and even when material reflecting historical reality did go into the making of myths, it was radically reshaped and restructured, again and again, to serve the changing and multiform needs of the mythological discourses. If we knew whether the Pelasgians had existed, and what their history had been, we could have compared those realities to the Greek representations, and seen how the two related. But as we do not, speculating about possibilities simply produces circular arguments and invites by default the free deployment of modern culturally determined assumptions and judgements — instead of an attempt to block them as much as possible, and confine them to the irreducible minimum that should be our methodological ideal. For the only Pelasgians accessible to us are those in the mythological discourse; the Pelasgians are the constructions of the Pelasgians in the Greek (and eventually some Italic) imaginaire over many centuries. These constructions are closely connected with the definition of Greek ethnic identity. The chapter illustrates this connection by quoting a modern view on Herodotus' representation of the Athenians.

Keywords:   Pelasgians, myth, ethnic identity, Athenians

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .