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Journal Article

Review: How Ideal is the Oldest Ideal Greek Novel?

Reviewed Work: Greek Identity and the Athenian Past in Chariton: The Romance of Empire (ANS, 9) by S.D. Smith
Review by: Koen De Temmerman
Mnemosyne
Fourth Series, Vol. 63, Fasc. 3 (2010), pp. 465-478
Published by: Brill
https://www.jstor.org/stable/25801868
Page Count: 14
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How Ideal is the Oldest Ideal Greek Novel?
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Abstract

In this review article, I first offer a critical discussion of S.D. Smith's Greek Identity and the Athenian Past in Chariton: The Romance of Empire (Groningen 2007). Subsequently, I analyze in detail what I consider to be one of the most important contributions of the book; this is Smith's identification of what I would call 'epistemological relativism' as a pattern underlying Chariton's narrative technique. I single out two thematic areas in which this pattern is particularly relevant and make some additions of my own regarding specific readings by Smith in each area. I argue that these two thematic strands challenge the widely-held view that Chariton is one of the most prototypical representatives of the genre of the ideal Greek novel.