Part III Apuleius and Others

Wonders Beyond Athens: Reading the 'Phaedra' Stories in Apuleius and Heliodoros


  • Steven D. Smith


This paper explores how the ‘wicked stepmother’ stories in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses and Heliodoros’ Aithiopika draw upon Athenian tragedy, oratory, and historiography and how those traditions affect a reading of the novels’ non-Athenian inserted narratives. Specific details highlight the Attic flavor of the embedded Phaedra stories in each of the texts, but Apuleius and Heliodoros must translate Athenian Hellenism for the larger thematic pur­poses of their own multicultural literary projects. These inserted tales are part of the ongoing literary concern about what it means to be Greek in the Empire.

Steven D. Smith is currently Special Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative Languages & Literature at Hofstra University in New York. His book, Greek Identity and the Athenian Past in Chariton: The Romance of Empire, will be published in 2007 as a supplement to Ancient Narrative.





Part III Apuleius and Others