The source and nature of earliest speech and civilization are puzzles which have intrigued people for many centuries. This study explores ancient Greek views on the source and nature of the world's first society and first language. Two of the book's chapters are based on close readings ofpassages in Homer and Herodotus, while the remaining chapters are broader surveys of a variety of Greek literary texts. Topics covered include the nature of the language used both by men and animals in the idyllic golden age, accounts of humans' ascent to civilized life and their acquisition oflanguage, and exotic creatures and peoples who have only limited linguistic capacities. Discussions of Enlightenment thinkers and modern theories of glottogenesis and language acquisition set Greek assumptions in a wider perspective.