The Representation of Slavery in the Greek Novel: Resistance and Appropriation

1st Edition

William M. Owens

Routledge
December 17, 2019 Forthcoming
Reference - 232 Pages
ISBN 9780367348755 - CAT# 318137
Series: Routledge Monographs in Classical Studies

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Summary

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.

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