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Romance Without Eros

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Chapter Summary

When readers maybe familiar with the "canonical" or "ideal" ancient romances first encounter the text of the Aesop Romance or read a study that uses this conventional title of the work, they are often surprised and even annoyed by the term "romance", because it evokes for them an exclusively "romantic" love relation that they do not see in the narrative. Such readers will be even more surprised to discover that for some students of the Aesop Romance erotic love indeed plays a significant role in this text, "despite Aesop's monstrous ugliness", because Aesop himself is therein portrayed as "the favorite of Aphrodite" and "a gift" of the goddess. The evidence adduced in support of this view consists of: the sexual episode between Aesop and the anonymous wife of his master, Xanthos: a misunderstanding of a passage in the text referring to Xanthos' wife; the recounting of two ribald stories.

Keywords: Aesop Romance ; erotic love; Xanthos



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