The Cinematic Nature of the Opening Scene of Heliodoros' Aithiopika

  • Martin M. Winkler


This paper presents a new approach to Heliodoros' Aithiopika. To demonstrate the cinematic nature of the novel's opening, its first part translates Heliod. 1,1-2 into a film script and discusses the text in analogy to modern mystery films and thrillers. It then turns to the opening scenes of two famous films, Orson Welles's Touch of Evil (1958) and Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). In a close examination of the three opening scenes' content and style, the paper aims to show that Heliodoros, Welles, and Hitchcock all share a fundamentally similar approach to drawing their audiences into an irresistible mystery. A final part argues that the different account of the opening scene given in Book Five of the Aithiopika is analogous to the function of flashbacks in film.