Skip to main content

Tales of the Barbarians: Ethnography and Empire in the Roman West

Tales of the Barbarians: Ethnography and Empire in the Roman West

Greg Woolf

ISBN: 978-1-444-39081-0 March 2011 Wiley-Blackwell 184 Pages


Tales of the Barbarians traces the creation of new mythologies in the wake of Roman expansion westward to the Atlantic, and offers the first application of modern ethnographic theory to ancient material.
  • Investigates the connections between empire and knowledge at the turn of the millennia, and the creation of new histories in the Roman West
  • Explores how ancient geography, local histories and the stories of wandering heroes were woven together by Greek scholars and local experts
  • Offers a fresh perspective by examining  passages from ancient writers in a new light

Translations Used vii

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: Telling Tales on the Middle Ground 8

Chapter 2: Explaining the Barbarians 32

Chapter 3: Ethnography and Empire 59

Chapter 4: Enduring Fictions? 89

Notes 119

References 146

General Index 164

Index of Main Passages Discussed 168

"A work of fundamental importance for students of ancient ethnography. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries." (Choice, 1 November 2011)

"By contrast, Woolf has rendered the topic in crisp and elegant prose. This reviewer suspects that, like good ancient ethnography, Woolf's contribution will very soon take on a life of its own". (Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 25 July 2011)