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Greek and Roman in dialogue: the pseudo-Lucianic Nero*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 February 2012

Tim Whitmarsh
St John's College, Cambridge


The short dialogue entitled Nero or on the digging of the Isthmus, preserved in the manuscripts of Lucian, is an intriguing piece. The contents are quickly summarised. Nero's abandoned attempt to dig through the Isthmus of Corinth is discussed by the two interlocutors, a certain Menecrates and the philosopher Musonius Rufus, who is said to have taken part in the digging (1). The scene is apparently the rugged Aegean island of Gyara to which the historical Musonius was exiled. The discussion broadens out to include Nero's tour of Greece, with a particular focus upon his singing; and it concludes as the news breaks of Nero's death (11). Menecrates' role in the discussion is limited to that of ‘prompter’, while Musonius assumes the authoritative, pedagogic role in the dialogue. Is there any unified meaning to this text? And why the dialogue form (given that Menecrates' role in it is so perfunctory)? This paper proposes one set of answers to these questions, by siting the Nero in the context of the cultural history of Greco-Roman relations, an area that has attracted much attention over the years (and has been further reinvigorated in the light of post-colonial theory).

Research Article
Copyright © The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies 1999

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1 The text is transmitted in one major Lucianic MS, N, and two other minor MSS. For brief discussion of textual history, see Macleod, M.D., Lucian, with an English Translation vol. 8 (London & Cambridge, Mass. 1967) 505–7Google Scholar.

2 The text is cited from Macleod's edition in the Oxford Classical Text series: Luciani opera tom. IV (Oxford 1987, repr. 1990)Google Scholar; reference is also made to Kayser, C.L., Philostrati opera tom.2 (Leipzig 1870)Google Scholar. Philostratus is cited from Kayser, except in the case of the Heroicus, which is cited from the more recent edition of de Lannoy (Leipzig 1977).

3 Also attested at Jos. Bell. Jud. 3.540; Suet. Ner. 19.2,37.3; Plin. NH 4. 10; Paus. 2.1.5; Philostr. VA 4.24; 5.7; 5.19; Cass. Dio 63.16. See further Bradley, K.R., ‘The chronology of Nero's visit to Greece AD 66/7’, Latomus 37(1978) 66;Google ScholarKennell, N.M., ‘ΝΕΡΩΝ ΠΕΡΙΟΔΟΝΙΚΗΣ’, AJP 109 (1989) 240–1;Google ScholarAlcock, S.E., ‘Nero at play: the emperor's Grecian odyssey’, in Elsner, J. & Masters, J. (eds.), Reflections of Nero (London 1994) 101–3;Google ScholarArafat, K., Pausanias' Greece: Ancient Artists and Roman Rulers (Cambridge 1996) 151–2CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Other monarchs are reported to have attempted to cut the Isthmus: Periander (Diog. Laert. 1.7.99); Demetrius (Plin. NH 4.10); Julius Caesar (Plin. NH 4.10; Suet. Caes. 44.3; Plut. Caes. 58; Cass. Dio 44.5); Caligula (Plin. NH 4.10; Suet. Calig. 21).

4 Macleod (n.1) 506-7 suggests a possible identification with the citharode mentioned at Petr. Sat. 73.19; Suet. Nero 30.2; Cass. Dio 63.1. For objections, see de Lannoy, L., ‘Le problème des Philostrate (état de la question)’, ANRW 2.34.3 (1997) 2383-4 n.144Google Scholar, arguing (on the basis of Her. 8.11 and inscriptional evidence) that Menecrates is a family name belonging to friends of the Philostrati. In the context of the Nero, the name is also a nomen loquens (‘staunch in (the face of?) power’).

5 For details of Musonius' life, see Lutz, C.E., ‘Musonius Rufus, the Roman Socrates’, YCS 10 (1947) 1423Google Scholar. For Musonius' part in the attempted digging of the Isthmus, see Philostr. VA 5.19, although if one accepts the common authorship of the two texts (see below), then the two texts can hardly be said to corroborate one another. For more on Musonius' exile, see Lutz, ‘Musonius Rufus’ 14-16; van Geytenbeek, A.C., Musonius Rufus and Greek Diatribe (Assen 1963) 35;Google ScholarWhitmarsh, T.J.G., ‘Greece is the world: exile and identity in the Second Sophistic’, in Goldhill, S.D. (ed.), Being Greek under Rome (CambridgeGoogle Scholar forthcoming).

6 Cf. e.g. Philostr. VA 7.10. That Gyara is the location is perhaps implied by ἀηδὲς οὕτω ϕροντιστήριον (1).

7 Menecrates' entire output consists of: two straight questions (1, if it is a question; 10); one ‘do tell…’ imperative (1); three questions followed by explicative γάρ (8; 8 bis); one statement of assent and the briefest elaboration (11).

8 The most important work on the subject is now Swain, S.C.R., Hellenism and Empire: Language, Classicism, and Power in the Greek World, AD 50-250 (Oxford 1996)Google Scholar. Of other discussions of the subject, see especially: Palm, J., Rom, Römertum und Imperium in der griechischen Literatur der Kaiserzeit (Lund 1959)Google Scholar; Bowersock, G.W., Greek Sophists in the Roman Empire (Oxford 1969)Google Scholar; Bowie, E.L., ‘The Greeks and their past in the Second Sophistic’, P&P 46 (1970) 341,Google Scholar repr. with corrections in Finley, M.I. (ed.), Studies in Ancient Society (Cambridge 1974) 166209;Google ScholarVidal-Naquet, P., ‘Flavius Arrien entre deux mondes’, in Savinel, P. tr. Arrien, Histoire d'Alexandre (Paris 1984) 311–94;Google ScholarDubuisson, M., ‘Lucien et Rome’, AntSoc 15–17 (1984-1986) 185207;Google ScholarElsner, J., ‘Pausanias: a Greek pilgrim in the Roman world’, P&P 135 (1992) 329;Google ScholarMoles, J.L., ‘Dio Chrysostom, Greece, and Rome’, in Innes, D. et al. (eds.), Ethics and Rhetoric (Oxford 1995) 177–92;Google Scholar Arafat (n.3); J.G.W. Henderson, ‘From Megalopolis to Cosmopolis: Polybius, or there and back again’, in Goldhill (ed.) (n.5); R. Preston, ‘Roman questions, Greek answers: Plutarch and the construction of identity’, in Goldhill (ed.) (n.5); Whitmarsh (n.5); T. Whitmarsh, ‘The politics and poetics of parasitism: Athenaeus on parasites and flatterers’, in D. Braund & J.M. Wilkins (eds.), Athenaeus and his Philosophers at Supper, (Exeter forthcoming).

9 As argued by, e.g., Edward Said: cf. esp. The World, the Text, and the Critic (London 1984)Google Scholar.

10 E.g. Bhabha, H., The Location of Culture (London 1994)Google Scholar, esp. 85-92.

11 Branham, R.B., Unruly Eloquence: Lucian and the Comedy of Traditions (Cambridge Mass. 1989) 88104;CrossRefGoogle ScholarMorales, H.L., A Scopophiliac's Paradise: Vision and Narrative in Achilles Tatius' Leucippe and Clitophon (unpubl. Ph.D. diss. University of Cambridge, 1997) 116200;Google ScholarWhitmarsh, T.J.G., ‘Reading power in Roman Greece: the paideia of Dio Chrysostom’, in Too, Y.L. & Livingstone, N. (eds.), Pedagogy and Power: Rhetorics of Classical Learning (Cambridge 1998) 205–10Google Scholar.

12 Its attribution to Lucian was already under doubt in the Aldine edition of Lucian (1503), where the words ΕΙ ΓΝΗΣΙΟΣ were appended to the title (see Macleod (n.2) 405).

13 Macleod (n.1) 505-7; Macleod (n.2) xviii.

14 On the authorship question, see Muenscher, K.Die Philostrate’, Philologus suppl. 10 (1907) 548–52;Google ScholarSolmsen, F.Some works of Philostratus the elder’, TAPA 71 (1940) 569–70;Google ScholarKorver, J., ‘Néron et Musonius: à propos du dialogue du pseudo-Lucien Néron ou Sur le percement de l'isthme de Corinthe’, Mnemosyne 3 (1950) 319–29;CrossRefGoogle Scholar especially de Lannoy (n.4) 2398-404.

15 De Lannoy (n.4) 2399. Baldwin's, suggestion (Studies in Lucian (Toronto 1975) 28)Google Scholar that the Nero is a satire on Herodes, though, is overly speculative.

16 Kayser, C.L., Philostrati Vitae sophistarum (Heidelberg 1838) 123–30;Google ScholarFlavii Philostrati quae supersunt (Zurich 1844) 373–5;Google Scholar de Lannoy (n.4) 2399-400.

17 Bowersock (n.8) 2-3; Anderson, G., Philostratus: Biography and Belles Lettres in the Third Century (Beckerham 1986) 291–3;Google Scholar and especially de Lannoy (n.4) 2392-5.

18 Moreover, a piece accredited by the Suda to the first Philostratus, ‘Proteus the dog, or the sophist’ (if Πρωτέα κύνα ἤ σοϕιστήν refers to a single title: see de Lannoy (n.4) 2398 for objections), seems to have taken as its subject the Cynic Proteus Peregrinus, who flourished under the Antonines (Korver (n.14) 326; Bowersock (n.8) 3).

19 We are told in the proem to the second Imagines (390.10-11) that the author of the later text is the grandson of the author of the earlier. Bowersock (n.8) comments: ‘It is more judicious to create a fourth Philostratus, author of the second set of Imagines; it is probably best to remain baffled' (p.4).

20 That the Nero was composed by the third Philostratus is argued by Kayser, Vitae sophistarum (n.16) 335-6 (cf. Kayser, Flavii Philostrati (n.16) xxxiii), Solmsen (n.14) 569-70 and de Lannoy (n.4) 2398-404. The Suda's ascription to the first Philostratus is defended by Muenscher (n.14) 548-52, Korver (n.14) 326-7 and Macleod (n.1) 506.

21 This unusual, idiomatic use of τι νοῦν ἕχει τινι to mean ‘something is intended by someone…’ is not really dealt with by LSJ (s.v. ἕχω A.ll is the closest entry, but even so closer parallels exist for this use of ἕχω, e.g. Dem. 2.3). It is characteristically Philostratean: τὸ μὴ ένδιατρίβειν ἐᾶν τους ξένυος οὐκ ἀμιξίας αὐτῶι νοῦν εἱχεν … (VA 6.20); τίνα σοι νοῦν ἕχει τοῦτο; (VS 619).

22 Anderson (n.17) 272 notes the influence of ‘tyrannicide’ speeches on Nero.

23 Cf. e.g. Dio Chr. 1.66-84.

24 Thus Plutarch, for example, describes Numa as a ‘much Greeker’ (Έλληνικώτερον) lawgiver than Lycurgus (Numa-Lycurgus syncrisis 1.10); see also Crass. 8.3; Marc. 3.6. Cf. (with reservations) A.G. Nikolaidis, ‘Έλληνικός – βαρβαρικός: Plutarch on Greek and barbarian characteristics’, WS 20 (1986) 229-44.

25 LSJ s.v. Έλληνικός II.

26 That is, we should not take the author to be praising Nero unconditionally, as Korver (n.14) 324-5 does, during the course of his strange argument that the Nero represents an attempt to rehabilitate the emperor.

27 For such insinuations concerning Nero's philhellenism, see e.g. Suet. Nero 12.3; 20.1-3; 28.2.

28 Kayser prints a full stop at the conclusion of this sentence; Macleod's interrogative, however, chimes better with the author's characterisation of Menecrates as the unconfident ‘prompter’ of Musonius' authoritative pedagogy.

29 Plut. Maxime cum principibus philosopho esse disserendum (Mor. 776a-779c); Ad principem ineruditum (Mor. 779d-782f). This code is also implicit in the symbouleutic orations of Dio Chrysostom (1-4): see Moles, J.L., ‘The Kingship Orations of Dio Chrysostom’, Papers of the Leeds Latin Seminar 6 (1990) 297375;Google Scholar Whitmarsh (n.11). It reaches full expression in Themistius: see Jones, C.P., ‘Themistius and the speech To the king’, CP 92 (1997) 149–52Google Scholar. The notion that Roman emperors heed the wise precepts of Greek σύμβουλοι was, of course, largely the product of Greek imagination: see Rawson, E., ‘Roman rulers and the philosophic adviser’, in Griffin, M. and Barnes, J. (eds.), Philosophia Togata: Essays on Philosophy and Roman Society (Oxford 1989) 233–57Google Scholar.

30 On the so-called philosophical opposition to Nero and the Flavians, see esp. MacMullen, R., Enemies of the Roman Order: Treason, Alienation and Unrest in the Roman Empire (Cambridge, Mass. 1967; repr. London 1992) 4694;Google ScholarBrunt, P.A., ‘Stoicism and the principate’, PBSR 30 (1975) 735;Google ScholarWistrand, E., ‘The Stoic opposition to the principate’, StudClas 18 (1979) 93101;Google ScholarRudich, V., Political Dissidence under Nero (London 1992)Google Scholar.

31 Whitmarsh (n.5) passim.

32 Fav. De ex. 2.1; 23.1 Barigazzi; Philostr. VA 4.35 (the reference here to Musonius ὀ Βαβυλώνιος, is obscure, perhaps resulting from a textual error: Korver (n.14) 320 suggests Βουλσίνιος); 4.46; 5.19; 7.16; see further Lutz (n.5) 14-15; van Geytenbeek (n.5) 3-5.

33 Not that Musonius was himself unwilling to be taken as a paradigm: see Mus. Ruf. fr.9 p.49.9-13 Hense.

34 The μεσογεία was thought to be a place where Hellenic identity was particularly pure, at any rate if we can judge by the comments of Agathion (Herodes Atticus' primitivist companion) reported by Philostratus (VS 553: the μεσογεία is ἄμικτος βαρβάροις).

35 On imperial euergetic building as a means of consolidating inequalities, see Veyne, P., Bread and Circuses: Historical Sociology and Political Pluralism (tr. Pearce, B., London 1990) 361–6Google Scholar.

36 On figured speech see Ahl, F., ‘The art of safe criticism in Greece and Rome’, AJP 105 (1984) 175208;Google Scholar Whitmarsh (n.11). See also the excellent account of ‘double-speak’ in Bartsch, S., Actors in the Audience: Theatricality and Double-speak from Nero to Hadrian (Cambridge, Mass. 1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar esp. 63-97.

37 The phrasing recalls PL Phd. 58d, the introductory framing section of the Phaedo, where Socrates' acolytes (and not, as here, the master himself) introduce the dialogue.

38 Editors print βουλομένοις, but I am not convinced the text should not read βουλόμενος. The dative is an odd (and apparently pointless) repetition of Menecrates' words; moreover, one might expect it to be followed by γε (J.D.Denniston, The Greek Particles (2nd ed., Oxford 1950; repr. Bristol 1996) 131). A change to βουλόμενος would make Musonius' response complete a neat expression of the σπεύδων σπεύδοντι type (e.g. Hom. Od. 3.272; (Aesch.) PV 19; 218; 671). A JHS reader, on the other hand, suggests that the repetition might be a heavy-handed attempt to mimic Platonic diction.

39 E.g. Luc. Somn. 1. See further M. Gleason, Making Men: Sophists and Self-presentation in Ancient Rome (Princeton 1994) 159-68; Whitmarsh (n.11) 196-9. The use of σπουδάζειν to mean ‘undertake study’ is characteristically Philostratean: cf. e.g. VS 488; 518.

40 Ar. Nub. 94. The Aristophanic allusion is the first of several nudges towards the reader to take careful stock of Musonius' own philosophical credentials.

41 On the appellation ‘the Roman Socrates’, see Lutz (n.5) 1.

42 For Socrates' καρτερία, cf. esp. Pl. Symp. 220a-b.

43 On such ‘self-presentation’ through literary paradigms, see Gleason (n.39) 148-58; Whitmarsh (n.5).

44 Alcock, S., Graecia Capta: the Landscapes of Roman Greece (Cambridge 1994) 824Google Scholar.

45 The Epirote who challenged Nero, on the other hand, is said to have ‘faked his desire for the crown’ (ἑπλάττετο … τοῦ στεϕάνου ἑρᾶν, 9).

46 Pl. Rep. 9.577 d. For ἔρως, itself as a tyrant, see Rep. 9.572 e-573 c; 9.573d.

47 I reproduce here Macleod's (Oxford) text. διψῶσι and τοῦτο are Kayser's emendations for ψαύουσι and τοιοῦτο.

48 Herodes' ambition to cut the Isthmus is similarly referred to by Philostratus as one of his plans ἑν μεγαλουργίαι (VS 551).

49 Compare Kurke, L., The Traffic in Praise: Pindar and the Poetics of Social Economy (Ithaca 1991) 163–94,Google Scholar on megaloprepeia.

50 For Macleod (n.1) 507, this is another of the author's ‘blunders’. It could equally well be a snide swipe (on the part of both Musonius and the author) at the Trimalchioesque ignorance of Nero.

51 Philostratus refers twice to sophists' uses of this pair to exemplify ϕρόνημα (VS 520; 541).

52 Hdt. 7.22-5; cf. Macleod (n.1) 511 n.4.

53 Hdt. 7.35-6; Aesch. Pers. 69; 104; 130; 736; 745; 747. On the practicalities of the construction, see Hammond, N.G.L. & Roseman, L.J., ‘The construction of Xerxes' bridge over the Hellespont’, JHS 116 (1996) 88107CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Dio Chrysostom, evoking the tyrannical obsession of Xerxes, uses both the cutting of Mt. Athos and the chaining of the Hellespont as complementary examples (Or. 3.31).

54 Pausanias is more explicit, commenting sententiously on the failure of Nero's digging of the Isthmus and that of similar projects, οὓτω χαλεπὸν ἀνθρώπωι τὰ θεῖα βιάσασθαι (2.1.5). Cassius Dio refers to horrific portents prefacing the digging of the Isthmus, including groaning and blood spurting from the earth (63.16.1-2).

55 Cf. e.g. Mossman, J., ‘Tragedy and epic in Plutarch's Alexander’, JHS 108(1988) 8393;CrossRefGoogle Scholar repr. in Scardigli, B. (ed.), Essays in Plutarch's Lives (Oxford 1995) 209–28Google Scholar.

56 Cf. Philostr. VA 5.7: … ὡς ἑκείνωι μᾶλλον ἤ τῶι Διὶ θύσοντας (of Nero).

57 Just as the sage Apollonius understands the ebb and flux of the Atlantic tides (Philostr. VA 5.1-2). On the proverbial Greek mistrust of Egyptian wisdom, see e.g. Winkler, J.J., ‘The mendacity of Kalasiris and the narrative strategy of Heliodorus Aethiopica’, YCS 27 (1982) 129–30Google Scholar.

58 The Isthmus plays an analogously figurative role in Latin poetry: cf. Ov. Met. 6.419-20; 7.404-5; Luc. Bell. Civ. 1.98-103.

59 On this oddity, see Goldhill, S.D., Foucault's Virginity: Ancient Erotic Fiction and the History of Sexuality (Cambridge 1995) 133CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Whitmarsh (n.4).

60 Hense, O., (ed.), C. Musonii Rufi reliquiae (Leipzig 1905)Google Scholar. These fragments present themselves not as Musonius' writings but as transcripts of conversations (van Geytenbeek, (n.5) 9-12). This practice (like the analogous phenomenon in Arrian's Dissertations of Epictetus) is clearly designed to recall Platonic and Xenophontic antecedents.

61 Fr.9 p.41. 10-13; p.42.1-2; 10-13 Hense; Whitmarsh (n.5).

62 The opposition between γέλως and θαῦμα recurs at Philostr. VA 6.3.

63 Nero is said to have a voice which is κοῖλον … καὶ βαρύ, a combination which is associated with manliness at Philostr. VA 3.38.

64 E.g. Philostr. VS 510; 511; 518-20; 524; 528; 538; 539.

65 LSJ s.v. κρείσσων 1.2.

66 And this ϕύσις stands in pointed contrast to the τἔχνη employed by those competitors who feign submission (τἔχνηι; τἔχνηι; τἔχνας τεχνάζοντες, 8). Moreover, Nero's attempt to transcend the limits imposed upon his voice by ϕύσις, recalls his violence to the ϕύσις, of the territory of Greece (τῆι ϕύσει, 2; τὰς ϕύσεις, 4).

67 In general on Nero's theatricality, see Plin. NH 30.14-15; Suet. Nero 23-4; Philostr. VA 5.7, with Edwards, C., ‘Beware of imitations: theatre and the subversion of imperial identity’, in Elsner, J. & Masters, J. (eds.), Reflections of Nero: Culture, History and Representation (London 1994) 8397;Google Scholar Bartsch (n.36) 1-62.

68 Cf. Philostr. VA 5.7, with Bartsch (n.36) 36-8.

69 LSJ s.v. ἠπειρώτης II.

70 The translation suggested by a JHS reader, and much preferable to Macleod's ‘under the stage’.

71 Bartsch (n.36) 56: ‘the dénouement is represented as a violation of the drama, a symbol of the tyrant's taste for the display of unbridled violence and the flaunting of his immunity’.

72 See especially Xerxes' secret message at Hdt. 7.239. On writing and tyranny generally in the archaic and classical periods, see Steiner, D.T., The Tyrant's Writ: Myths and Images of Writing in Ancient Greece (Princeton 1994) 127–55Google Scholar.

73 This point was suggested by Philip Hills.

74 Alcmaeon's matricide was the subject of an Alcmaeon by the fourth century tragedian Astydamas (Ar. Poet. 1453b 33).

75 In a sense, Nero's behaviour is (as Simon Goldhill observes) worse than tragic: Aristotle in the Poetics uses the word μιαρός to indicate the kind of plot which is not tragic but repulsive (1452b 36; 1453b 38-9 [τό … μιαρὸν ἕχει, καὶ οὐ τραγικόν]; cf. 1454a 3-4). Nevertheless, of course, behaviour styled μιαρός does occur in tragedy (cf e.g. Soph. Ant. 746; Trach. 987).

76 Supra, n.60.

77 See Pl. Phaedr. 274b-79c, and J. Derrida, ‘Plato's pharmacy’, in id., Dissemination (trans. B. Johnson, London 1981) 65-171 on Plato's representation of writing as ‘supplementary’ to the written voice. For a level-headed assessment of Derrida's and other interpretations of this passage, see Ferrari, G., Listening to the Cicadas: a Study of Plato's Phaedrus (Cambridge 1987) 204–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

78 The role of literature in Romans' imaginings of Greece is well brought out by Swain (n.8) 66-7.

79 For this point, see Alcock (n.3) 105. Favorinus also alludes to the mimetic aspects of Corinth's Hellenism at Cor. (=ps.-Dio Chr. 37) 26.

80 Luc. Bell. civ. 5. 130-40; Plut. De obsc. Pyth. or. Julie Lewis tells me that the evidence for actual decay is minimal, and that the rhetoric of decline is precisely rhetoric (compare ps.-Long. De subl. 44.1-12; see also Alcock (n.44) 24-32). For a contrary view, see Levin, S., ‘The old Greek oracles in decline’, ANRW 2.18.2 (1989) 15991649Google Scholar.

81 Cass. Dio 63.14.2. The question of the historical truth or falsehood of this claim is not at issue here: on this matter see Levin (n.80) 1605-6.

82 Oracular edifices are frequently said to have a στόμα or στόμιον: see e.g. Paus. 5.14.10; 9.39.11-12; Max. Tyr. 18.2; Σ Ar. Nub. 508.

83 A parallelism between the singing throat and the throat of Greece has already been suggested in ch.4: τοῦ γὰρ τεμεῖν αὐτὸν ἥρα (sc. ὁ Νέρων) μᾶλλον ἥ τοῦ δημοσίαι ἄιδειν.

84 LSJ s.v. ἰσθμός, 1.1 for ‘neck’, 1.2 for ‘throat’.

85 Supra, p. 149; cf. Aesch. Pers. 69-72; 130; 736. At 72, the Hellespont is referred to as the αὑχένι πόντον. Cf. also Hdt. 7.34-36.1 on the ζεῦγος.

86 Cf. e.g. Konstan, D., ‘Aristophanes' Lysistrata: women and the body politic’, in Sommerstein, A. et al. (eds.), Tragedy, Comedy and the Polis (Bari 1993) 431–44Google Scholar.

87 Lyotard, J.-F., The Differend: Phrases in Dispute (tr. Van Den Abbeele, G.: Manchester 1988) 25:Google Scholar ‘Now the writer Plato … effaces himself from the dialogues we read (and attribute to him). He thereby violates, to all appearances, the poetic legislation decreed by Socrates in the Republic, and runs the risk, by his form if not by his thesis, of being accused of impiety’. Cf. also Derrida (n.77); Prendergast, C., The Order of Mimesis: Balzac, Stendhal, Nerval, Flaubert (Cambridge 1986) 1012Google Scholar.

88 Cf. esp. Desjardins, R., ‘Why dialogue? Plato's serious play’, in Griswold, C.L. Jr., (ed.), Platonic Writings, Platonic Readings (New York 1988) 110–25;Google Scholar J. Mittelstrauss, ‘On Socratic dialogue’, ibid. 126-42; C.L. Griswold jr., ‘Plato's metaphilosophy: why Plato wrote dialogues’, ibid. 143-67; Frede, M., ‘Plato's arguments and the dialogue form’, in Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy (supplementary volume) eds. Klagge, J.C. and Smith, N.D. (Oxford 1992) 201–19;Google ScholarSayre, K.M., Plato's Literary Garden (Notre Dame & London 1995) 132Google Scholar. In different ways, each of these scholars sees dialogue as a pedagogic tool, a means of engaging the reader more directly and interrogatively than the ‘textbook’ form.

89 Mittelstrauss (n.88) 136-7.

90 The Philostratus who wrote the Life of Apollonius, Lives of the Sophists etc. was a Roman, as is indicated by IG2 2.1803 (Traill, J.S., ‘Greek inscriptions honouring prytaneis’, Hesperia 40 (1971) 321–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar no.13; Traill denies that this is our Philostratus, but see contra Follet, S., Athènes au IIe et IIIe siècle: études chronologiques et prosopographiques (Paris 1976) 101–2)Google Scholar. Lucian, incidentally, was also a Roman citizen (at the very least in later life): see Swain, Hellenism (n.8) 314. Moreover, if the Nero was composed after Caracalla's Constitutio Antoniniana of 211, then its author would have been de facto a Roman citizen: see Sherwin-White, A.N., The Roman Citizenship (2nd ed., Oxford 1973), 380–94Google Scholar.

91 In emphasising the bivalence of Graeco-Roman identity, I take issue with the hierarchical distinction made by Swain (n.8) 380, 411-12 between superficial displays of allegiance to Rome and deeply held ‘cultural’ or ‘spiritual’ convictions of Greece's superiority. This distinction rests upon an inappropriate (because fundamentally Judaeo-Christian) heuristic divorce between beliefs and practice (on the inapplicability of such ideas to the ancient world, see Sidebottom, H., ‘Studies in Dio Chrysostom On Kingship’ (unpubl. DPhil. diss, Oxford 1990) 431)Google Scholar. Greeks were, in the main, hardly reticent about their possession of Roman citizenship, which constituted a significant index of power and kudos.

92 According to the conventional division (which follows the Suda), of the three texts discussed here the Gymnasticus and the Heroicus would have been composed by the first Philostratus, and the first Imagines by the second.

93 Anderson (n.17) 268-72; Billault, A., ‘Le ΓϒΜΝΑΣΤΙΚΟΣ de Philostrate a-t-il une signification littéraire?’, REG 106 (1993) 152–62Google Scholar.

94 On such narratives of decline, see supra n.80.

95 Blanchard, M.E., ‘Philostrate: problèmes du texte et du tableau’, in Cassin, B. (ed.), Le plaisir du parler: êtudes de sophistique compareé (Paris 1986) 131–54;Google ScholarConan, M., ‘The Imagines of Philostratus’, Word & image 3 (1987) 162–7;CrossRefGoogle ScholarBryson, N., ‘Philostratus and the imaginary museum’, in Goldhill, S.D. & Osborne, R. (eds.), Art and Text in Ancient Greece (Cambridge 1993) 255–83Google Scholar.

96 Dict. Cret. Eph. bell. Troi.; Dar. Phryg. Act. diurn. bell. Troi.; Dio Chr. Or. 11; Luc. Gall. This tradition in turn builds upon the challenges to claims that Homer told the truth on the part of early cosmologists such as Xenophanes and historians such as Thucydides and Herodotus: see Merkle, S., ‘Telling the truth about the Trojan war’, in Tatum, J. (ed.), The Search for the Ancient Novel (Baltimore 1994) 183Google Scholar. Challenges to the literal truth (at any rate) came from allegorists, from Theagenes of Rhegium onwards (see Lamberton, R., Homer the Theologian: Neoplatonist Allegorical Reading and the Growth of the Epic Tradition (Berkeley & Los Angeles 1986))Google Scholar.

97 Anderson (n.17) 241-54.

98 Grg. fr.11 a D.-K.

99 Cf. Pl. Cri. 43c-d; Phd. 58a-c.

100 There is some confusion over the attribution of these words. The MSS attribute Εὕ γε, ὠ θεοί to Musonius and the remainder to Menecrates; Fritzsche proposed to invert these attributions, and is followed by Kayser and Macleod in the Loeb (n.1); by the time he published the Oxford text (n.2), though, Macleod had clearly rethought, since all the words are attributed to Musonius (as they are here).

101 Macleod (n.1) 521; cf. LSJ s.v. ἐπεύχομαι I.

102 LSJ s.v. ἐπεύχομαι IV. Redfield notes, à propos of the Iliad, that ‘[e]juchesthai means both “to boast” and “to pray”’ (J. Redfield, Nature and Culture in the Iliad: the Tragedy of Hector (expanded edition, Durham & London (1994) 129).

103 Il. 5.119; 11.431 etc.

104 Xen. Mem. 1.2.57-8.

105 Similarly, Philostratus makes Dio Chrysostom quote from Odyssey 22 upon the death of Domitian (Philostr. VS 488 = Horn. Od. 22.1): see Whitmarsh (n.11) 206-7.

106 Korver (n.14) 324.

107 For Vespasian's expulsion, see Cass. Dio 66. 13.2; for that (?those) of Domitian, Suet. Domit. 10; 13.3; Tac. Agr. 2-3; Plin. Ep. 3.11.

108 Roberts, D.H., ‘Ending and aftermath, ancient and modern’, in Roberts, D.H., Dunn, D.M. & Fowler, D. (eds.), Classical Closure: Reading the End in Greek and Latin Literature (Princeton 1997) 251–73Google Scholar.

109 D. Fowler, ‘Second thoughts on closure’ in Roberts et al. (n.108) 3-22.

110 On the problems of closing Platonic dialogue, see Griswold (n.88) 162; and on aporetic conclusions, Desjardins (n.88) 116-7; Kofman, S., ‘Beyond aporia?’, in Benjamin, A. (ed.), Post-Structuralist Classics (London 1988) 744Google Scholar.

111 Seen. 90.