Ancient Greek novel

literary genre

Five ancient Greek novels survive complete from antiquity: Chariton's Callirhoe (mid 1st century), Achilles Tatius' Leucippe and Clitophon (early 2nd century), Longus' Daphnis and Chloe (2nd century), Xenophon of Ephesus' Ephesian Tale (late 2nd century), and Heliodorus of Emesa's Aethiopica (3rd century). There are also numerous fragments preserved on papyrus or in quotations, and summaries in Bibliotheca by Photius, a 9th-century Ecumenical Patriarch. The titles of over twenty such ancient Greek romance novels are known, but most of them have only survived in an incomplete, fragmentary form. The unattributed Metiochus and Parthenope may be preserved by what appears to be a faithful Persian translation by the poet Unsuri. The Greek novel as a genre began in the first century CE, and flourished in the first four centuries; it is thus a product of the Roman Empire. The exact relationship between the Greek novel and the Latin novels of Petronius and Apuleius is debated, but both Roman writers are thought by most scholars to have been aware of and to some extent influenced by the Greek novels.
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genre: Ancient Greek novel


Lucius or The Ass

short erotic novel attributed to Lucian

author: Pseudo-Lucian

Hysmine and Hysminias

literary work by Eustathios Macrembolites, in the manner of the Greek novels of Achilles Tatius

author: Eustathios Makrembolites


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