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5. Popular and Sophisticated in the Ancient Novel

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Chapter Summary

The ancient novel has a strong claim to be regarded as part of the history of popular storytelling, however the latter might itself be defined. The two romantic novels closest to the "popular" world are unquestionably Xenophon of Ephesus' Anthia and Habrocomes and the anonymous Latin Apollonius of Tyre. In particular it can be argued that the novels of Xenophon of Ephesus and Achilles Tatius, and the Tarsiaromance that forms the latter half of Apollonius of Tyre, embody or incorporate substantial parts of the story of Snowwhite (AarneThompson Type 709). Examination of modern versions of the latter does not take long to show that robbers rather than seven dwarfs are just as characteristic companions of the heroine, and that the Grimm Brothers' version is very far from definitive of the type as a whole. Xenophon's heroine Anthia has companions Leucon (White) and Rhode (Rose).

Keywords: ancient novel; Apollonius of Tyre; Xenophon



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