Yawning matters: What can hiatus tell us about the lost Greek novels? What can the heroon in honor of Kineas on the Banks of the Oxus River tell us about The wonders beyond Thule?


  • María Paz López Martínez



The aim of this study is to contextualize the fragments of the The Wonders beyond Thule in the set of lost Greek novels that have come to us in papyri paying special attention to the treatment of hiatus. The literary ambitions of Callirrhoe, Ninus, Parthenope, and The wonders beyond are similar and their ‘implicit readers’ would have belonged to the educated elite known by the term of pepaideumenoi and pepaideumenai. Other conclusion is that hiatus is a license that depends on the style of the author, but it can sometimes be attributed to an error by the scribe or a decision of the modern editor.

The study includes value information about novel fragments since 1998 (edition by López-Martínez) and a hypothesis regarding archaeological materials (papyri and inscriptions) found in a Hellenistic city on the Banks of the Oxus River in Afghanistan, Ai Khanoum, which offer us tantalizing paralells for the fictional mise en scène of Diogenes’ novel.

Author Biography

María Paz López Martínez

María Paz López Martínez studied Classical Philology at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. She is Senior Lecturer of Greek Philology at the Universidad de Alicante. In 1993 she defended her PhD thesis (Fragmentos papiráceos de novela Griega, published in 1998). Her main field of research are the papyri of lost Greek novels. She has also worked on Herculaneum papyri and she has been Coordinator of a research project about Philodemus of Gadara. She has published several articles and chapters of collective books about other specific topics including Synesius, Hypatia, Greek tragedy and classical reception. She has translated ancient Greek theatre into Spanish and all her versions have been staged. She is currently co-editing a volume focused on The Reality of Women in the Universe of the Ancient Novel (John Benjamins, Amsterdam 2021) and she is also preparing a new critical edition of the papyrological fragments of lost Greek novels for the Bibliotheca Teubneriana (Eroticorum graecorum fragmenta in papyris membranisve reperta).


2021-04-15 — Updated on 2022-05-13