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The Romance Between Greece and the East

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The touch zones among the Greco-Roman international and the close to East characterize some of the most intriguing and fast-moving parts of ancient-world experiences. This new number of essays, by means of world-renowned specialists (and a few new voices) in classical, Jewish, Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Persian literature, focuses in particular on prose fiction, or 'the historical novel'. Twenty chapters both supply clean readings - from an intercultural standpoint - of wide-spread texts (such because the biblical Esther and Ecclesiastes, Xenophon of Ephesus' Ephesian tale and Dictys of Crete's Journal), or introduce fabric which may be new to many readers: from demotic Egyptian papyri via outdated Avestan hymns to a Turkic translation of the lifetime of Aesop. the quantity additionally considers problems with method and the historical past of scholarship at the subject. A concluding part bargains with the query of ways narratives, styles and motifs could have turn out to be transmitted among cultures.

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The Alexander Romance and the Dream of Nectanebo) is a translation from Egyptian; and that d) other Egyptian stories were translated into Greek. He concludes: ‘Greek prose fiction owes its origin at least in part to Egypt’, but is careful to point out that most of the extant novels are so Hellenised they show little sign of their origins, and that other oriental cultures may have contributed as well. The most solid part of this argument is surely the point about the Dream of Nectanebo (c). If we agree that this is a translation from the Egyptian, and that its Greek reception, both in the Dream of Nectanebo itself and in the Alexander Romance, is close to the Greek romance in general, then in principle we must allow the possibility that other features of the Egyptian narratives may have passed over from Egyptian to Greek narratives as well.

Rajak 2009, with further literature. 2 Maccabees because it presents itself as the epitome of a work by Jason of Cyrene (2: 24), which would probably have been in Greek; it is also addressed to the ‘Egyptian Jews’ (1: 1), who would almost certainly have been Greek-speakers (compare the Ben Sirach prologue). The rhetorical flamboyance of 4 Maccabees has long been taken as a sign of its original composition in Greek. The romance between Greece and the East 15 (or Aramaic) are expanded in the Greek versions.

Greek and Egyptian fiction 31 is by Karl Ker´enyi in his Die griechisch-orientalische Romanliteratur (1927). Romanliteratur is a brilliant, if problematic, book that argues two main theses about the Greco-Roman novels: first, that they are Isiac religious texts, written by authors who are essentially aretalogoi, so much so that they ought to be read ‘with the eyes of an Isiac initiate’ (cf. p. 229); and, second, that the genre can be said to have originated in Isiac religious ideology; he takes the earliest instance of the genre to be the Eselroman which lies behind Apuleius’ Metamorphoses.

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