A Diptych by Evanthes: Andromeda and Prometheus (Ach. Tat. 3,6-8)


  • Nicolò D'Alconzo


Unlike every other ekphrasis of works of art that can be found in the Greek novels, the description of the paintings of Andromeda and Prometheus in Ach. Tat. 3,6-8 presents two unique features: the paintings are joined in a diptych, and the name of the painter, Evanthes, is mentioned. Against the interpretation of these facts as fictional, archeological evidence shows that the association of the two figures had an antecedent in Apulian vases of the IV century BC. Moreover, Achilles Tatius employs the diptych in order to anticipate the theatrical connotation of the events in book 3, demonstrating understanding of the theatrical inspiration of the joint iconography. These elements strengthen the plausibility that a real work of art stood behind Achilles Tatius' description.

Nicolò D'Alconzo is a PhD candidate at Swansea University, where he is about to submit his thesis on works of art in the Greek novels. His research focuses on Greek novels, rhetorical theory and practice, theory of art.