CLCIV 350 - Topics in Classical Civilization
Section: 001 The Greek Novel: Chariton, Longus and Heliodorus
Term: WN 2010
Subject: Classical Civilization (CLCIV)
Department: LSA Classical Studies
Requirements & Distribution:
Advisory Prerequisites:
CLCIV 101 and 102.
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s).
Primary Instructor:

Most non-classicists and many classicists are surprised to learn that works of extended prose fiction meriting the description ‘novels’ existed in the Greco-Roman world. Not only did they exist, but their rediscovery in the renaissance was an important factor in the development of the modern European novel. The plots of the five Greek novels to survive complete (and, as far as we can tell, of many known only through fragments or in epitome) followed very similar patterns: a teenage boy and girl from elite families fall in love, are separated, and endure travel as captives across great stretches of the Mediterranean, their lives threatened by storms and their fidelity to each other by pirates, potentates and sundry lustful men or women who cannot resist their extraordinary beauty. By the end they are reunited to live happily ever after. These five novels seem to have been written between the reign of the Roman emperor Claudius (41-54 CE) and the middle of the 3rd century CE. The earliest, Chariton’s Callirhoe, already combines subtle characterization of its heroine and of several leading male characters with rapid and vivid narration. The latest, Heliodorus’ Theagenes and Charicleia, refines and elaborates both characterisation and narrative (much of the latter in the mouths of characters), and plays with the conventions of its predecessors. Longus minaturises these conventions by having his couple herd sheep and goats in the backcountry of Mytilene on Lesbos (until they too are discovered to be elite children).

The bulk of the time will be spent reading and discussing key sections of Chariton, Longus and Heliodorus. But the first two meetings will look at proposed antecedents in classical and Hellenistic literature and at the problem of deciding just when, and for whom, the novels were written; and as we go along there will be glances at the other two complete novels, those of Xenophon and Achilles Tatius, and at the epitomes and fragments of lost novels.

There will be some short response papers; a shorter (4-6pp) and a longer (6-9pp) paper; and a final exam.

CLCIV 350 - Topics in Classical Civilization
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
002 (LEC)
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 9780520256552
Collected Ancient Greek novels, Author: edited by B.P. Reardon., Publisher: University of California Press New ed. 2008
ISBN: 0391041347
The novel in the ancient world, Author: edited by Gareth Schmeling, Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers Rev. ed. 2003
ISBN: 9780521684880
The Cambridge companion to the Greek and Roman novel, Author: ed. by Tim Whitmarsh., Publisher: Cambridge Univ. Press 1. publ. 2008
ISBN: 0198721889
Oxford readings in the Greek novel, Author: ed. by Simon Swain., Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press 1. publ. 1999
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