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Characters in the Greek novels comprise a dizzying array of identities, but one group of people who have received barely any attention are Spartans. They appear only in Chariton of Aphrodisias and Xenophon of Ephesus, where analysis of their presence sheds crucial light on the novels’ literary and sociocultural agendas. After an introduction (section I), section II discusses Chaereas’ self-characterization as the Spartan Leonidas in book 7 of Chariton’s Chaereas and Callirhoe in the context of Imperial-period Sparta: its institutions (the Leonideia festival), prosopography (the Euryclid dynasty) and reputation for military greatness. I link these elements to the ‘kinsman of Brasidas’ in book 8, who can be directly connected to an Imperial-period descendant of Brasidas in Plutarch’s Sayings of Kings and Commanders, as well as to Thucydides’ Brasidas. Section III explores the Spartan identity of Aegialeus and Thelxinoe, the protagonists of an inset story told to Habrocomes in book 5 of Xenophon’s Ephesiaca. Details of their lives correspond closely to Spartan cultural phenomena familiar from Plutarch’s Life of Lycurgus, especially in connection with marriage customs. This has consequences for the evaluation of Xenophon as a witty and sophisticated novelist, and for his compositional date. Section IV draws out the significant parallels between the depiction of Spartans in Chariton and Xenophon, which form the basis of proposals regarding their literary and chronological relationships.
In this introduction, we establish a framework for resistance studies as it relates to the ancient Mediterranean world, and especially to Rome as an imperial power. The first section explores the changing scope of resistance studies over the past century and how the three principal twentieth-century discussions of resistance by Classicists have been framed by Nazi Germany, the French colonial experience in Africa seen from the viewpoint of early postcolonialism, and the activities of McCarthyite America in the Cold War. It also sets out the range of theoretical and methodological approaches to resistance that recur throughout the volume. The second sections consists of discussion and summaries of the contributions. The third section offers Augustine as a case study of reading resistance at the level of an individual’s identity formation. The fourth section discusses the question of imperial Greek existence under Rome and ends with a case study of Pausanias.
This chapter argues that Chariton’s Chaereas and Callirhoe is exceptional among the extant novels for its ideological entanglement with Rome, a status in no small part a result of the author’s opening proclamation to be from the city of Aphrodisias in Asia Minor, a ciuitas libera and perennially loyal pet of the Roman emperors. The first section of this chapter suggests that the novel’s fictional status affords it a degree of licence to ‘speak truth to power’, evidence of which can often be found in details that do not quite make sense (‘glitches in the matrix’). The second section mobilises a range of theoretical models from resistance studies to argue that one such detail, the presence of ‘Phrygian pirates’, represents a sideswipe at Roman military and imperial pretensions. The third section presses the interpretative potential of Chariton’s claim to be from Aphrodisias and argues that, although a strongly local text, it is irredeemably enmeshed in the politics of the Mediterranean world. The fourth section explores how the public use of Phrygian iconography in Aphrodisias as a strategy of ‘kinship diplomacy’ with Rome contrasts with the negative connotations of ‘Phrygian’ in Chariton’s novel, which indicates that even a city as openly pro-Roman as Aphrodisias was capable of expressing dissent.
This book explores the many strategies by which elite Greeks and Romans resisted the cultural and political hegemony of the Roman Empire in ways that avoided direct confrontation or simple warfare. By resistance is meant a range of responses including 'opposition', 'subversion', 'antagonism', 'dissent', and 'criticism' within a multiplicity of cultural forms from identity-assertion to polemic. Although largely focused on literary culture, its implications can be extended to the world of visual and material culture. Within the volume a distinguished group of scholars explores topics such as the affirmation of identity via language choice in epigraphy; the use of genre (dialogue, declamation, biography, the novel) to express resistant positions; identity negotiation in the scintillating and often satirical Greek essays of Lucian; and the place of religion in resisting hegemonic power.
In this article I make three interrelated claims about Chariton's use of ἀγαθὸς δαίμων in connection with the protagonist Chaereas, who is believed to be dead. First, that it reflects a funerary formula peculiar to inscriptions from Caria, and therefore potentially supports the author's declaration to be a native of Aphrodisias in Caria; second, that the use of this funerary formula suggests an awareness of events subsequent to the death of Nero (especially the series of false Neros), which has ramifications for the novel's date, use of imperial history, and ideological thrust; and third, that numismatic evidence from Alexandria supports an association between Chaereas and Nero.
This paper seeks to highlight and assess the presence of allusions to Roman military apparatus in Chariton's Chaereas and Callirhoe. In the introduction, I contextualise the argument within the history of scholarship on the novel, and discuss issues relating to the author's date, Aphrodisian provenance and readership. I then divide the argument into three parts. At the end of the novel, Chaereas returns to Syracuse and publicly displays the spoils won from the east in a manner that, I argue, is highly suggestive of the Roman triumph (Part i). He then extends a grant of citizenship to the Greek element of his army and issues them cash donatives, while Hermocrates gives farmland to the Egyptians. As I demonstrate, this is characteristic of what happens upon the demobilisation of Roman military manpower (especially the auxilia) (Part ii). I then draw out the ramifications of an imperial-era author who represents Greek military exploits against the Persians, writing during a period in which Greeks were not interested in military endeavours (Part iii).
Chariton's Chaereas and Callirhoe is a Greek novel that is extremely rich in historical and historiographical allusions. Virtually all of those so far detected derive from Greek texts and events in Greek history. In this article I shift the focus to Roman history, and suggest that Rome is not as absent as it is usually supposed to be in the Greek novels. In support of this claim, I propose that Chariton's choice of Sicily as a topographical setting can be related to three episodes from the Republican period that all involve Roman interventions in Sicily. Section I: the removal of Callirhoe (described at the beginning of the novel as an ἄγαλμα) from Syracuse recalls Verres’ provincial mismanagement of Sicily (73–71 BC), specifically his removal from Syracuse of Sappho's statue. Section II: the character of the pirate Theron is freighted with markers that point to the ‘pirate’ Sextus Pompey and his conflict with Octavian from 42–36 BC. Section III: Chaereas’ triumphant return to Syracuse at the end of the novel, loaded with spoils from the Persian king, symbolically reverses and redresses Marcellus’ sack of Syracuse in 211 BC. These all have significant ramifications for how readers (ancient and modern) approach the Greek novels.
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