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Race and Ethnicity in the Classical World

An Anthology of Primary Sources in Translation

Selected and Translated by Rebecca F. Kennedy, C. Sydnor Roy, and Max L. Goldman

September 2013 - 432 pp.

Format ISBN Price Qty
Cloth 978-1-60384-995-1
Paper 978-1-60384-994-4

Race and Ethnicity in the Classical World

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By offering fluent, accurate translations of extracts and fragments from a wide assortment of ancient texts, this volume allows a comprehensive overview of ancient Greek and Roman concepts of "otherness," as well as Greek and Roman views of non-Greeks and non-Romans. A general introduction, thorough annotation, maps, a select bibliography, and an index are also included.



"This collection of translated excerpts from Greek and Latin authors, from the 8th c. BCE to the 3rd c. CE, brings together a wide range of texts, chosen from historians, epic poets, geographers, medical writers, satirists and others, marvelously illustrating the curiosity of Greeks and Romans about 'race' and 'ethnicity,' self and other.
   "Since for ancient Greeks and Romans one essential element of identity and difference was customs, we learn a lot from these texts about sex and marriage, funerals, and warfare in the Mediterranean and surrounding lands. But the ancient authors also featured banalities such as clothing, horse bits, cooking, and even trash talking.
   "The translations are fresh, accurate, and accessible. . . . In a brisk and smart Introduction [the editors] point out the absence of fixed words for race and ethnicity in classical antiquity even as they provide some good references for exploring the complexity of these modern concepts."
     —Mary T. Boatwright, Duke University



"This highly affordable, lively and wide-ranging anthology will be an invaluable study resource for courses on ancient identities and ideas about foreigners. . . . It will also appeal to the general reader interested in exploring what Greeks and Romans thought and wrote about peoples often styled 'barbarian,' not least because knowledge of such material was instrumental in the formation of the modern disciplines of anthropology, ethnography and geography. Both the high quality of the translation and the fact that it presents sizable chunks of text for students to ponder make it an ideal teaching text.
   "Wild flights of fancy, tales of mythical monstrosity and cruel/bizarre stereotypes sit side-by-side. Dicaeopolis's response seems the most apt: 'Wowzers!'"
     —Journal of Classics Teaching



"Will allow students to understand for themselves how ancient Greeks and Romans conceived of foreign populations and how they thought about issues of racial, ethnic, and cultural difference."
     —Jonathan Hall, University of Chicago

"Very rich. . . . Following an introduction to classical environmental, genetic, and cultural theories of difference, the sources range over the many peoples of the ancient Mediterranean and beyond, from Egypt to Europe. The reach of this text—and its emphasis on the Greek and Roman views of the 'other'—will make it particularly useful for courses on ethnicity taught in Ancient Mediterranean Studies programs."
     —Molly Myerowitz Levine, Howard University

"A considerable resource for anyone seeking to understand ancient theories of otherness; it will also provide an abundance of material to those who wish to explore how ancient ideas have contributed to modern conceptions of race and ethnicity."
     —Phiroze Vasunia, University of Reading

Rebecca Futo Kennedy is Assistant Professor of Classics, Denison University.

C. Sydnor Roy is Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics, Haverford College.

Max L. Goldman is Senior Lecturer, Vanderbilt University.








Race and Ethnicity: Modern Concepts, Ancient Texts
Organization and Structure
Note on Translations


1. Homer and Hesiod: Early Theories of Race and Ethnicity
2. Genealogies and Origins
3. Environmental Theories
4. Genetic Theories
5. Cultural Theories

The Peoples of the Ancient World

1. The Inhabited World
2. Africa: Egypt
3. Africa: Libya, Numidia, Carthage
4. Africa: Ethiopia and Beyond
5. Asia: Persia, Media, Babylon, Parthia
6. Asia: Judaea and the Jews
7. Asia: Arabia
8. Asia: India, China and the Edges of the World
9. Europe: Black Sea Region
10. Europe: Gaul, Germany, Britain

About the Sources
Select Bibliography
Index of People, Places, and Some Animals

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