The Representation of Slavery in the Greek Novel: Resistance and Appropriation, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Representation of Slavery in the Greek Novel

Resistance and Appropriation, 1st Edition

By William M. Owens


232 pages

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Hardback: 9780367348755
pub: 2019-12-17
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This volume offers the first comprehensive treatment of how five the canonical Greek novels represent slaves and slavery. In each novel, one or both elite protagonists are enslaved, and Owens explores the significance of the genre’s regular social degradation of these members of the elite.

Reading the novels in the context of social attitudes and stereotypes about slaves, Owens argues for an ideological division within the genre: the earlier novelists, Xenophon of Ephesus and Chariton, challenge and undermine elite stereotypes; the three later novelists, Longus, Achilles Tatius, and Heliodorus, affirm them. The critique of elite thinking about slavery in Xenophon and Chariton opens the possibility that these earlier authors and their readers included literate ex-slaves. The interests and needs of these authors and their readers shaped the emerging genre and not only made the protagonists’ slavery a key motif, but also slavery itself a theme that helped define the genre.

The Representation of Slavery in the Greek Novel will be of interest not only to students of the ancient novel, but also to anyone working on slavery in the ancient world.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Degradation and Resistance

1. Ephesiaca: Enslavement and Folktale

2. Callirhoe: Narratives of Slavery Explicit and Implied, Told and Retold

3. Two Novels About Slavery

4. Daphnis and Chloe: Slavery as Nature and Art

5. Slavery and Literary Play in Leucippe and Clitophon

6. Aethiopica: Love and Slavery, Philosophy and the Novel

Afterward: Conclusions Summarized and Two Points of Speculation

About the Author

William M. Owens is associate professor of Classics at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. His research focuses on the representation of social institutions, practices, and ideologies in ancient literature, in particular comedy and the novel.

About the Series

Routledge Monographs in Classical Studies

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General