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The Greek and the Roman Novel

The Greek and the Roman Novel: Parallel Readings

Michael Paschalis
Stavros Frangoulidis
Stephen Harrison
Maaike Zimmerman
Volume: 8
Copyright Date: 2007
Published by: Barkhuis
Pages: 307
  • Book Info
    The Greek and the Roman Novel
    Book Description:

    Ancient Narrative Supplementum 8 is the first volume to be dedicated entirely to parallel readings of the Greek and the Roman novel. As a rule, publications taking a comprehensive look at the ancient novel treat the Greek and the Roman novels independently of each other, or at most discuss standard thematic categories. It is intriguing that a sharp distinction between the Greek and the Latin novels should have ever existed and that it should be tacitly maintained at the present time. Of the three surviving Latin novels, Apuleius' Metamorphoses has a Greek model, Petronius' Satyrica bears distinct traces of Greekness, and the Historia Apollonii strongly resembles the Greek ideal novel, especially Xenophon's Ephesiaka. The discovery of new papyrus fragments of Greek fiction (Lollianos' Phoinikika, the Iolaos and the Tinouphis fragments) has shown that low-life, comic, and sensational features are not the exclusive province of the Latin novel. Recent chronological revisions have squeezed the dates of the earliest Greek novels into the period between 41 and 75 A. D., thus envisaging the birth of the Greek novel and that of the Roman Satyrica as contemporary or near-contemporary events. The need to re-examine the relations between the two main traditions of the ancient novel in the context of a unified Greco-Roman tradition emerges today as more urgent than ever. The portrayal on the cover page of this volume of Echo and Narcissus, of self-reflection and reduplication of sound, symbolizes a pictorial challenge to look at the dialectics of the Greek and the Latin novels and appreciate their intimate relationship.The parallel readings of the present volume explore various issues in Greco-Roman fiction: political accommodation in coming-of-age novels, the language and practice of magic, narratives of failure, textual considerations and narrative meaning, hidden authors, proposals and criteria for dating, the access to knowledge, plot structures, religion and narrative, the fortunes of Athenian Hellenism, vision and narrative, attitudes towards Roman imperial rule, and the motif of the stolen cup.

    eISBN: 978-94-91431-43-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-IV)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. V-VI)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. VII-VIII)
    Stephen Harrison and Maaike Zimmerman
  4. Introduction
    (pp. IX-XX)
    Michael Paschalis and Stavros Frangoulidis

    The present volume is the first to be dedicated entirely to parallel readings of the Greek and the Roman novel. As a rule publications taking a comprehensive look at the ancient novel treat the Greek and the Roman novel independently of each other, or at most discuss standard thematic categories (such as the origins, chronology, women, readership, or others). A recent critical survey issued a call “to extend the margins of the study of the novels yet further”,¹ but did not envisage the prospect of a more systematic examination of the relations between the two main traditions of the ancient...

  5. 1 GENERAL

    • The Coming of Age and Political Accommodation in the Greco-Roman Novels
      (pp. 3-22)
      Jean Alvares

      The narratives of most extant ancient Greco-Roman novels conform to initiation/quest mythic paradigms¹ which present the difficulties inherent in a youth’s entry into adult status, and these texts can be seen as a type of coming-of-age story wherein the male protagonist, after extensive trials and wanderings, gains his mate and assumes a significant position in the sociopolitical hierarchy. The coming-of-age process for any youth logically requires negotiation with the surrounding socio-political order. Here I survey how three Greco-Roman novels depict the protagonists coming to terms with a dominant political order and how this accommodation is depicted as motivated and rationalized....

    • Narratives of Failure
      (pp. 23-37)
      Gareth Schmeling

      This paper does not examine the failures of novelists to relate engaging narratives, rather it looks first at narratives about failures, narratives which deal with individuals who fail, and secondly at characters who cannot succeed completely because of structural arrangements in the narrative. In short, it is a successful narrative about persons who fail or do not enjoy lasting success.

      Narratives of failure in the ancient novel for my purposes come to us in two General Ways.¹ Since the first General Way, the simplest, focuses on a major figure who judged by common standards, is one of life’s failures, I...

    • Magic in the Ancient Novel
      (pp. 38-56)
      Consuelo Ruiz-Montero

      It is a well-known fact that magic was an important phenomenon in ancient societies, including Greek and Roman society.¹ Though eastern in origin, magic is well evidenced in Greek literature from as early as theOdyssey, especially in two passages which would subsequently enjoy great literary success – the episode of Circe in Book 10 and theNekuiain Book 11, the journey to Hades prescribed by the goddess herself. In both passages we find a couple of motifs which give rise to a long literary tradition which extends to the novel: the transformation of men into animals by a...

    • Posthumous Parleys: Chatting Up the Dead in the Ancient Novels
      (pp. 57-69)
      Niall W. Slater

      Stephen Greenblatt‘s famous opening toShakespearean Negotiationsinvokes the yearning felt by readers of all kinds, the desire to recover the animation that once inhabited texts inherited from the past and engage them in conversation. What is metaphor for the ‘salaried, middle-class shamans’¹ who practice literary criticism in academe today could be much more concrete for the ancients. As the reiteration of stories about the discovery of silent reading in antiquity show,² for centuries readers read aloud, and many never read otherwise, rendering the normal reading experience a form of conversation with the absent author, ventriloquizing through the reader. The...

    • The Greek and the Latin Alexander Romance: Comparative Readings
      (pp. 70-102)
      Michael Paschalis

      Our earliest surviving text of what we commonly call theAlexander Romancebut was actually entitledThe Life(and Deeds)of Alexander of Macedon,¹ is a single manuscript of the 11thcentury (Parisinus Graecus1711) known as A (Pseudo-Callisthenes). This text derives from a hypothetical original recension known as α and believed to be also the source of two early translations: a Latin one by Julius Valerius of about 300 AD² and an Armenian translation dating to the 5thcentury AD. Recension β of theAlexander Romancederives mainly from α and is represented by several manuscripts. It probably dates...


    • Kleitophon and Encolpius: Achilleus Tatius as Hidden Author
      (pp. 105-120)
      John Morgan

      The intrigue in Bk. 6 of Achilleus Tatius’ novel is complex. Kleitophon has learned that Leukippe is not dead, as he believed, but is living in slavery under the name of Lakaina on the rural estate of his new wife, Melite. Sosthenes, the repulsive steward of Thersander, Melite’s first husband, also unexpectedly returned from the dead, has been trying to win her compliance to his master’s advances and has imprisoned her in a remote hut. At daybreak Sosthenes and Thersandros arrive at the door of the hut to hear Leukippe lamenting within.¹ Even in her distress, she rises to rhetorical...

    • Links between Antonius Diogenes and Petronius
      (pp. 121-132)
      Ewen Bowie

      In this paper I make a proposal of whose speculative nature I am well aware. I have long been struck by some features shared between the τὰ ὑπὲρ Θούλην ἄπιστα of Antonius Diogenes and theSatyricaof Petronius, and want belatedly to see how far a hypothesis of some knowledge of one author by the other can be taken, and in what direction such a hypothesis would carry us.

      What are these shared features?

      First, the size and articulation of the work: we do not know for certain the size and articulation of theSatyrica, but many suppose that the...

    • A Lengthy Sentence: Judging the Prolixity of the Novels
      (pp. 133-150)
      Ken Dowden

      The beginnings of this project lay in reading, and reacting to, the work of Gottskálk Jensson on Petronius (Jensson 2002 and 2004). On his view, which I find overwhelmingly convincing, Petronius based theSatyricaon a lost Greek predecessor. If that was the case, then was there some way of detecting more about this evidently remarkable text? Such texts had after all existed sufficiently for Peter Parsons to speak of the Iolaos fragment (fr. 21 López Martínez) as coming from ‘a GreekSatyricon’. Overall, the fragments of unknown Greek novels are not actually very numerous: there are 48 papyrus fragments...

    • The True Nature of the Satyricon?
      (pp. 151-168)
      Andrew Laird

      The title of theSatyricon Libri(or ‘Books ofSatyrica’) is similar enough to the titles of some Greek romances such as theEphesiakaor theAethiopikato suggest to some the possibility that an original GreekSatyricawas a model for the Latin work.¹ The narrator of theSatyricon, Encolpius, has a Greek name and he interacts with characters who also have Greek names. And the story of theSatyricontakes place in locations which seem Greek, at least in part – regions of southern Italy, and the suggestions of other places redolent with influences that are not Italian...


    • Who Knows What? The Access to Knowledge in Ancient Novels: the Strange Cases of Chariton and Apuleius
      (pp. 171-192)
      Romain Brethes

      Knowledge in Antiquity is at the heart of theoretical conflicts, notably through the self-knowledge assumed by the Delphic maxim.² My aim in this paper is not, of course, to argue about the historical and philosophical destiny of the conception ofknowledgethrough the ages but to reflect on the values of knowledge in ancient novels. When you speak about knowledge, you also speak about truth and the search for truth. The idea would be, rather than to reveal the secret truth hidden behind any novel, if there has ever been one, to delimit in some novels the relationships to knowledge...

    • Transforming the Genre: Apuleius’ Metamorphoses
      (pp. 193-203)
      Stavros Frangoulidis

      Apuleius’Metamorphosesrecounts Lucius’ relationship with the slave girl Photis, his metamorphosis into an ass through magic, his subsequent wanderings and his final redemption through the intervention of the goddess Isis. As is well known, theMetamorphosesreveals affinities with the entertaining narrative in pseudo-Lucian’sOnos. Beyond this, the work may also invite a comparison with the ideal novels, in which the protagonists fall in love, undergo a series of adventures either separately or together, are reunited through chance circumstances and finally return home.¹ What is perhaps most striking is that Apuleius alters the dynamics of the plot-line of the...

    • Parallel Cults? Religion and Narrative in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses and Some Greek Novels
      (pp. 204-218)
      Stephen Harrison

      In this paper I want to compare the narrative function of the gods, their sanctuaries and oracles in the plot of Apuleius’Metamorphoseswith that of similar elements in the plots of Greek novels, and to argue that Apuleius probably knew most of the extant Greek novels and plays with their established literary uses of divine elements. This has additional relevance for the overall interpretation of theMetamorphoses, since it can be used to suggest that the religious element in Apuleius is more likely to have a literary, entertaining function rather than a serious, proselytising role.²

      A recent investigation³ gives...

    • Wonders Beyond Athens: Reading the ‘Phaedra’ Stories in Apuleius and Heliodoros
      (pp. 219-237)
      Steven D. Smith

      The novels of Apuleius and Heliodoros declare their literary and cultural hybridity in part by their narrative departures from the Greek world. Although Apuleius’ narrator declares Attic Hymettos, the Corinthian Isthmos, and Spartan Taenaros as his origins at the beginning of the novel (1.1),¹ by the end of the novel he has been ensconced in the religious and forensic life of Rome.² Similarly, the plot of theAithiopikatraces the adventures of Charikleia and Theagenes away from Delphi, the holiest of Greek sanctuaries, to Egypt and finally to the mysteries of the marriage rite in Ethiopian Meroe, the πέρας (10.41.4),...

    • Leering for the Plot: Visual Curiosity in Apuleius and Others
      (pp. 238-262)
      Kirk Freudenburg

      Winkler’sAuctor and Actortaught us to pay close attention to how listeners listen in Apuleius’sMetamorphoses, and how readers (featured as characters) go about the act of interpreting, often badly, inside the novel’s many inset tales. Scenes of hermeneutical activity, he shows, have implications for readers on the outside looking in. My approach in this paper is largely in the same vein, but with a different emphasis. I want to watch the book’s inset watchers, not ‘rather than’ but ‘in addition to’ reading its readers. Expanding upon two recent articles by Niall Slater, I will focus on how their...

    • Apuleius, the Onos, and Rome
      (pp. 263-276)
      Ellen Finkelpearl

      Most scholarship on the pseudo-LucianicOnoshas focused on the question of its wholeness, its relationship to its presumed Greek source, its authorship (Lucian or not?) and the interpretation of the passage of Photios (Bibl. 129) which seems to provide guidance, but may actually cause yet more complication. Most scholarship on Apuleius’Metamorphosesand theOnoshas focused on the interrelationship among the three texts; as Apuleius probably did not model hisMetamorphoseson theOnos, but on the lost original, his work has often been employed in a reconstruction of the lost longer Greek version, especially in regard to...

    • Aesop, the ‘Onos’, The Golden Ass, and a Hidden Treasure
      (pp. 277-292)
      Maaike Zimmerman

      Those who have seen James Cameron’s film ‘Titanic’ from 1997 may remember two interrelated short episodes: in the first one, a helper of Rose’s fiancé furtively hides a precious necklace, a present that Rose had received from her fiancé, in the pocket of Rose’s lover, Jack. Thus, Rose’s fiancé expects that he will get rid of his rival for the love of Rose. Indeed, later on in the film, Jack is caught when the same steward finds the necklace on him and shows it to all bystanders; Jack is chained until such time as he will be handed over to...

  8. Abstracts
    (pp. 293-298)
  9. List of Contributors
    (pp. 299-301)
  10. Indices

    • Index locorum
      (pp. 302-304)
    • General Index
      (pp. 304-307)