Anthia and Habrocomes in Full Bloom: A Literary Onomastic Analysis of Erotic Andreia and Lasting Beauty in Xenophon’s Ephesiaca


  • John Genter



Ancient readers were highly attuned to etymologically and allusively significant character names, which helped shape their experience and understanding of narratives in a variety of ways. Authors frequently exploited that fact in their compositions. This paper capitalizes on that state of affairs by utilizing a literarily attuned onomastic analysis to explore two themes in Xenophon’s Ephesiaca. Specifically, I argue that Xenophon deploys several character names in interpretively important and sometimes sophisticated ways to serve the construction of themes relating to erotic andreia and lasting beauty. Regarding erotic andreia, this study largely supplements and corroborates conclusions that have been emerging in recent scholarship and offers a few fresh proposals for consideration. Xenophon’s interest in lasting beauty has not received much attention in contemporary scholarship outside of David Konstan’s Sexual Symmetry. The results of this study suggest that the theme deserves further examination. I offer a brief sketch, informed by onomastic analysis, of where the theme occurs and why it matters in the story Xenophon is telling.

Author Biography

John Genter

John Genter is a teacher of record and doctoral candidate in the Department of Religion at Baylor University. In a previous publication (2019), he explored the use of significant names in Matthew’s Gospel. His dissertation offers a narrative-critical analysis of the parable discourse in Matthew 13 informed by concepts and conventions at home in early Jewish apocalyptic literature.


2020-08-06 — Updated on 2021-01-26