Sunday, April 3, 2022

Seminar "Personal Names from Ancient Greek Novels"


Nikoletta Kanavou (Université d’Athènes)

The naming of the heroes and heroines in the five extant romantic novels (Chariton’s Callirhoe, Xenophon Ephesius’ Anthia and Habrocomes, Achilles Tatius’ Leucippe and Clitophon, Longus’ Daphnis and Chloe, Heliodorus’ Aethiopica) suggests typification: the personal names are chosen – mostly from historical nomenclature – to express positive features such as beauty and noble birth. However, the numerous fictitious narratives of romantic interest that survive in a fragmentary state (included in such collections as S.A. Stephens and J.J. Winkler, Ancient Greek Novels: The Fragments. Princeton, NJ 1995; M.P. López Martínez, Fragmentos papiráceos de novela griega, Alicante 1998) paint a much more complex picture – the fragments indeed reflect a greater variety of onomastic tendencies than seen in the extant works. To demonstrate this, I will offer a survey of names of main heroes and heroines in the relevant texts, including recently published fictitious narratives on papyri (e.g. P.Oxy. LXXI 4811, LXXXIII 5356), and discuss meanings of names, their relationship to historical onomastics and the motivation that may lie behind their use. The study of personal names emerges as an important tool for establishing literary patterns, historical connections, as well as the individuality of the works that form the rich literary tradition of the novel.

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