Callisthenes in Achilles Tatius' Leucippe And Cleitophon: Double Jeopardy?


  • Ian Repath


Achilles Tatius seemingly has two characters with the name Callisthenes; this is unparalleled in the Greek novel genre. A comparison reveals multiple similarities between episodes and situations involving or connected with the two, and although the second is only named once, the involvement of both with bandits and abduction encourages the reader to link them. The second Callisthenes is mentioned (but not named) for the second and only other time immediately before Sostratus’ speech on the amazing conversion of the first Callisthenes. This juxtaposition problematises what Sostratus says, which itself is open to doubt in several ways. The possibility that we have only the one Callisthenes is left open. The questions of identity and narratorial reliability raised contribute to the sense of unease at the novel’s infamously rapid and anti-climactic ending.

Ian Repath is lecturer in Classics at Swansea University. He works and has published on second sophistic prose fiction, especially the Greek novel, names and allusions in fiction, the Roman novel, literary aspects of Plato, and ancient physiognomy. He is a founding member of KYKNOS, theSwansea, Lampeter, and Exeter Centre for Research in Ancient Narrative Literatures.