Novel Ways of Being Philosophical Or A Tale of Two Dogs and a Phoenix


  • Ken Dowden


Are the Greek novels philosophical? This contribution looks at three test cases. Dictys of Crete's Diary is not philosophical - indeed it is not a novel and it shows by contrast that even the meanest Greek novel may be viewed as philosophical. Xenophon's Ephesiaca can be seen from the episode of Anthia's ‘punishment' in the pit with two dogs to have something significant to say about the life we should pursue. Finally, Heliodorus' Aethiopica is argued to be more philosophical again on the basis of the opening events of Book 6, particularly the encounter with a man carrying a flamingo.

Ken Dowden is Professor of Classics and Director of the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity at the University of Birmingham. He writes on Greek mythology (Uses of Greek Mythology, Routledge, 1992), religion (European Paganism, Routledge, 2000; Zeus, Routledge, 2006), on historians (especially fictional ones) for the Brill New Jacoby, and on various aspects of the Latin and Greek novels, especially Apuleius and Heliodoros, particularly their message and statistical issues.