L'eunuque, un personnage négligé du roman grec


  • Patrick Robiano


This paper deals with eunuchs as characters in three Greek novels : Chariton's Callirhoe, Iamblichus's Babylonian Story, and Heliodorus's Ethiopian Story. Names given to eunuchs obviously show they are bound to their masters and necessarily make readers recall images from other works. Servants of Persian power, they assume the part of go-between in an erotic context which is dangerous to heroines and heroes. Although novelists use depreciating clichés (eunuchs shown as slaves and Barbarians), they however do not present them with contempt, contrary to contemporary writers. Iamblichus, Babylonian or Syrian by birth, surprisingly seems the most critical. In my opinion, laying emphasis on clichés, he wants demonstrate he shares Greeks's representations and can play with clichés and codes of the Greek novel.

Patrick Robiano is a member of the PLH-CRATA at the University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès and a contributor to the Dictionnaire des Philosophes antiques (CNRS). He is a specialist in the Greek Literature of the Roman Empire, particularly the Greek novels and the corpus Philostrateum