From what I can tell it is an inherited skill from wizard to wizard. According to this question: Was there a Parselmouth before Salazar Slytherin? Herpo the Foul seems to be the first or one of the first who were able to speak Parseltongue.

And from what I have researched, he was an Ancient Greek wizard and there is nothing of significance if he was related to Salazar Slytherin.

So my question is, how does Salazar Slytherin speak parseltongue? (which could possibly be answered by if he was actually related to Herpo the Foul)

  • Sorry, but I fail to see how this isn't just a dupe. There's no mention of a Parselmouth that predates Salazar Slytherin
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 9:47
  • 4
    @Valorum Herpo the Foul predates Slytherin, as established in the linked question.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 11:01
  • @RandAl'Thor - Either way, any connection would be included in the dupe. I'm at a loss why this has been reopened.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 12:04
  • 5
    @Valorum It's been reopened because how Slytherin came to be a Parselmouth is a completely different question from "was he the first", and not at all answered by "no he wasn't". The older question doesn't ask about whether Slytherin and Herpo were related, so there's no reason why its answer should address that - and even if they weren't, that wouldn't answer this question. (There's also a meta discussion about it.)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 12:09
  • 3
    @Valorum This won't end up with the same answer, because the answer to the old question is literally included in the question here, so re-posting it here wouldn't answer the question asked. And even if Herpo is the only Parselmouth who predates Slytherin, that doesn't answer the question of how Slytherin came to be a Parselmouth - were they related? did Slytherin learn from a disciple or book of Herpo's? did the ability just manifest naturally in him?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 12:15

1 Answer 1


We don't know. There's only one Parselmouth mentioned in any level of canon that predates Salazar Slytherin and that's Herpo the Foul.

There's no mention of whether they're related in any way, nor any mention of Salazar's other relatives.

  • You know me Valorum, I am always grateful for answers, so +1 for this. But the question linked does not answer this.
    – KyloRen
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 12:17

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