The Representation of Philosophers in Greek Fiction


  • J.R. Morgan


This paper reviews the depiction of philosophers in five works of Greek fiction: Chariton's Callirhoe, the fragmentary Metiochus and Parthenope, Antonius Diogenes' Wonders beyond Thule, Heliodorus' Ethiopian Story, and the Life of Aesop. Although there is naturally some divergence in these texts, there is in general little sign of engagement with philosophical thought through the personage of the philosopher, and in no case is the philosopher employed as an authorially validated vehicle of ideas or the text's final message. It is striking that in each case, the philosopher is constructed as an ambiguous and complex figure, embodying the ambivalence of contemporary culture towards philosophy.

John Morgan is Professor of Classics at Swansea University and Leader of the KYKNOS Research Centre. He is the author of a number of articles on the Greek novels, and his commentary on Daphnis and Chloe was published in 2004. He is currently working on books on Heliodorus and Longus.