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Lucian of Samosata

Author(s) : Kamara Afroditi (3/26/2007)
Translation : Velentzas Georgios

For citation: Kamara Afroditi, "Lucian of Samosata",
Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World, Asia Minor
URL: <http://www.ehw.gr/l.aspx?id=10142>

Λουκιανός Σαμοσάτων (3/15/2007 v.1) Lucian of Samosata (2/21/2006 v.1) 




The earliest and complete publication of the works of Lucian in modern times is that by
C. Jacobitz, Lucianus Samosatensis opera, 4 vol. (Leipzig 1836-1851, repr. vol. 3, Teubner 1896-7).

A more recent publication was that of Oxford by H.W. and F.G.Fowler, while the last publication is by Loeb Publications, edited by M.D.Macleod and translated by A.D. Harmon, K.Kilburn and M.D.Macleod.

The works of Lucian are divided into the following categories:

a) Rhetoric:

The Tyrannicide
The Disinherited
Hippias or balnaeum
About the house
Slander, a Warning
Patriotism (*)
Of Sacrifice
Of Mourning
Apology for ‘The Dependent Scholar’

The rhetorical works include preambles, that is, discourses in rhetorical style:

Herodotus and Aetion
Dionysus, An Introductory Lecture
Heracles, An Introductory Lecture
The Scythian
Swans and Amber
Dipsas, the Thirst-Shake
Zeuxis and Antiochus

Some of Lucian’s παραδοξογραφίες are in rhetorical style:

The Fly, An Appreciation
Trial in the Court of Consonants
The Parasite, A Demonstration That Sponging Is a Profession
The Rhetorician’s Vade Mecum

b) Dialogues (among them are the satirical dialogues, a kind Lucian developed first). There are various categories:

1. Dialogues of Platonic-philosophical character:

About dance
Nigrinus, A Dialogue (written under the pseudonym Lycinus)
A Feast of Lapithae
Hermotimus, or The Rival Philosophies
The Liar
The Ship: or The Wishes
Pseudosophist or Soloikistes
Anacharsis, A Discussion of Physical Training
Toxaris: a Dialogue of Friendship

2. Satirical Dialogues:

Act of lives
Timon the Misanthrope
The Fisher
The Double Indictment
Dialogues of the Sea-Gods
Dialogues of the Gods
Dialogues of the Hetaerae
Jugments of the gods
A Literary Prometheus

c) ‘Μενίππεια’ scripts: texts (dialogues or treatises) referring to the well-known comic writer of the Roman period Menippus from Gadara:

Icaromenippus, An Aerial Expedition
Zeus Cross-examined
Zeus Tragoedus
The Gods in Council
Dream or Coq
Saturnalian Letters
"Kataplous" or Tyran
The Runaways

d) Narratives:

A True Story: a grotesque fantastic story reminiscent of the ‘utopias’ of the time, such as that of Ιαμβούλου reported by Diodorus Siculus.
About the dream, that is the life of Lucian(*)
Lucius or the ass(*)

e) Pungent treatises on phenomena of his time:

Remarks Addressed to An Illiterate Book-fancier
How to Write History
Alexander, The Oracle-monger
The lyer
"Περί των επί μισθώι συνώντων"
The Death of Peregrine
Life of Demonax (*)
The Syrian Goddess (*)

The validity of some of the above works (marked with a star), as Lucian’s works, is challenged and they are attributed to different, usually unknown, writers. Lucian was often responsible for this confusion, as he usually used a pseudonym in his works or appeared in them as a literary persona.

Finally, there are works attributed to Lucian, but modern research has shown that they were written by different writers. Such works are: Μακρόβιοι, Περί της αστρολογίας, Έρωτες, Demosthenes, An Encomium, Αλκυών ή περί μεταμορφώσεων, Ωκύπους and The Cynic.

(**) This work is believed to be based on the same myth as ‘The Golden Ass’ or ‘Metamorphoses’ of Apuleius from Madauros. As the two writers were contemporary, there is confusion about who influenced whom. However, modern researchers, who dispute the fact that ‘Λούκιος ή Όνος’ was written by Lucian, assume that both works may have been based on a Greek model of some unknown writer.


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