Maxwell-Stuart, Peter G Books

Dr. Peter G. Maxwell-Stuart is Reader in History at the University of St. Andrews. He received his Ph.D. from the University of St. Andrews.

Explaining Herodotos’s Gold-Digging Ants of India: The Ancient Origins, Historical Embellishments, Linguistic Variations, and Anthropological Interpretations of a Folkloric Text
2016 1-4955-0444-1
Herodotos’ reputation as the teller of tall stories has undergone revision over the years. In India, he said, there were ants almost as large as dogs. The story was repeated many times by Greek authors and then by Roman, Byzantine, Arab, and Persian writers, before finding its way into Mediaeval and early Renaissance European literature. Attempts to rationalise the tale have centred upon the ants themselves. By the mid-twentieth century the puzzle appeared to be regarded as settled. However, based on studies of the etymology of various languages spoke in those area, and on anthropological investigations the book offers a new explanation of Herodotos’s story based on historical context rather than fantasy.