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The Ideal Greek Novel From A Biographical Perspective

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Chapter Summary

This chapter views the ideal Greek novels-or "the canon" as some now prefers to say-from the viewpoint of some ancient biographical texts. The author intention is to let the characteristics of the canon emerge in comparison with works of the so-called "fringe", rather than he other way round, as has been more usual. The texts chosen for comparison are five works sometimes described as biographical "romances": Xenophon's Cyropaedia, the Life of Alexander ascribed to Callisthenes, the anonymous Life of Aesop, the Pseudo-Herodotean Life of Homer, and Philostratus' Apollonius of Tyana. The treatment of love in the biographical romances-as far as the biographical subject himself is concerned-is remarkably summary, as well as remarkably similar among several of them. In the Cyropaedia, the marriage of Cyrus to his nameless cousin is described as a purely political arrangement.

Keywords: ancient biographical texts; Apollonius of Tyana; Greek novels; Life of Aesop; Life of Alexander; Life of Homer; Xenophon's Cyropaedia



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