By Deborah Levine Gera

The resource and nature of earliest speech and civilization are puzzles that experience intrigued humans for lots of centuries. This ebook surveys historic Greek perspectives on those questions. It discusses the harmonious language of the golden age, the capability through which language used to be first invented, and a few historic "linguists" defined by means of Homer and Herodotus.

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LwIp8,... / '\or- lIio•. e . " lolden race all the othe r creatu res had an articulate "oitt and knew """'" :I. Ltmguage in the Golden Age loquacious animals. Babrius invokes wise old A� sop and his stories proof that animals spoke in the golden age (Imes 1 4- 1 6) and, in fact animal fables conventionally took place in the age of Kronos. Var ious fables actually refer to the time when animals had a com_ mon language with each other or with men. We find, for instance, the fable opening 'when the animals spoke' (iTE 4>wvTJEvTa l}v Ta {cpa already in Xenophon (Mem.

Perhaps life in the age of Kronos was not all that different from the physically comfortable, but spirirually dissatisfy­ ing existence to be had in the 'city of pigs' outlined in Plato's Republic (3 69a-3 7zd). Golden age creatures could have been cultur­ ally limited beings who used the gift of a universal language for simple and rather mindless purposes. See Descartes's letter of 1 629 to 1\t�rsenne in Kenny 19'10. 3�; we too Eco " �1 8; Slaughter 198 .. �. Aarslefi' 1 982, 261 . 1, IQJ (ad Pol.

They are also said to have some kind of valves to close their ears. Since the people of the island allegedly live in the here and now, in Iambulus' time. and not in a golden age in the past. they cannot. by definition. speak a universal language. Iambulus grants them the next best thing, the knowledge of all languages. human and other­ wise. Given a world in which there is a wide variety of peoples and tongues. speaking all languages is the alternative to, virtually the equivalent of. a universal language.

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