Anthology of Ancient Greek Popular Literature

Anthology of Ancient Greek Popular Literature

Distribution: World
Publication date: 04/22/1998
Format: Paperback 6 figures
ISBN: 978-0-253-21157-6
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Hansen has assembled an anthology like no other, which will fascinate students of late antiquity, folklorists, and curiosity-seekers, and will offer new possibilities to teachers of ancient-culture surveys." —Classical World

... lively, entertaining, and unique anthology... This anthology is appropriate not only for graduate and undergraduate students in classics but for anyone interested in the transmission of folklore." —Journal of American Folklore

... higly readable English translations of a wide variety of Greek texts... a solid introduction to the general question of 'popular literature' in the ancient world." —Bryn Mawr Classical Review

... what one hopes for in an anthology... this volume can be used as a textbook yet is of benefit for the scholar, has clear, well-written, and well-formed introductions that avoid eccentricity while noting different viewpoints, and provides a representative selection of mostly complete works." —The Petronian Society Newsletter

Readers in ancient Greece didn’t curl up with only the weighty tomes of Homer, Plato, and Sophocles—they also enjoyed light entertainment such as novels, short stories, fantasies, jokes, and fortune-telling handbooks. In fact, some of this literature was so successful that it remained in circulation into the Middle Ages. Most of these selections are little known except to scholars, but all will prove an unexpected delight to readers everywhere.

Author Bio

William Hansen is professor of Classical Studies and of Folklore at Indiana University. He has published widely on early Greek epic, Greek mythology, and folklore. His books include Saxo Grammaticus and the Life of Hamlet (a study of the Hamlet legend) and Phlegon of Tralles’ Book of Marvels (a study of popular literature).

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Table of Contents


Part One: Popular Fiction

1. Romantic Novel
Xenophon of Ephesus, an Ephesian Tale
Translated by Moses Hadas

2. Christian Novella
Anonymous, the Acts of Paul and Thecla
Translated by R. Mcl. Wilson

3. Wisdom Literature
Anonymous, Secundus the Silent Philosopher
Translated by Ben E. Perry

4. Comic Novel
Pseudo-lucian, Lucius or the Ass
Translated by Paul Turner

5. Comic Biography
Anonymous, the Aesop Romance
Translated by Lloyd W. Daly

6. Historic Novel
Pseudo-callisthenes, the Alexander Romance
Translated by Ken Dowden

Part Two: Popular Compilations

7. Wonders
Phlegon of Tralles, Book of Marvels
Translated by William Hansen

8. Fables
Anonymous, Collectio Augustana
Translated by William Hansen

9. Jokes
Hierocles and Philagrius, the Laughter Lover
Translated by William Hansen

Part Three: A Popular Handbook

10. Fortunetelling
Anonymous, the Oracles of Astrampsychus
Translated by Randall Stewart and Kenneth Morrell

Part Four: Popular Literature in Public Places

11. Popular Literature on Stone
Gravestone Verse
Translated by William Hansen

Works Cited