By Ian Smith (auth.)
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Additional resources for Race and Rhetoric in the Renaissance: Barbarian Errors
6 What followed, from the Greek perspective, was the product of bold and courageous daring, astute military strategy, exuberant cunning, and a new, unflinching assertion of freedom that reviled Persian despotism. The stunning Greek victories at Marathon (490) and later at Salamis (480) and Plataea (479) proved historic turning points and thrust Athens into prominence among the Delian League, a confederacy of city-states promoting Panhellinism, created in 477 that became the foundation of the Greek Empire.
Writing several decades after the major Persian wars (his last recorded event occurring in 425), Herodotus created a state document that understood the role of a dialectical, political mythology in consolidating Greek, especially Athenian, authority and self-image. Following the Persian conflicts, “the Attic citizenry, mainly men of little education or experience who had hitherto existed within the confines of a provincial horizon” embarked on a project of governing, lacking the administrative, political, and intellectual formation demanded by their new responsibilities (Meier 2).
Language acquisition and utterance are, therefore, the symbolic sites of struggle, and the production of an official language bears the significant signs of historical rivalry for dialectical dominance. Since language is a dynamic cultural product, then its anatomy will reveal the impact of relevant sociological data—the competition among dialects for dominance and their embedded economic, race, class, and gender inflections—not always of interest to the general linguist but important for the sociolinguist and cultural historian.
Race and Rhetoric in the Renaissance: Barbarian Errors by Ian Smith (auth.)