By the Elite, for the Elite? The Audience of the Ancient Greek Novel

Sean Queenan


Until fairly recently the Greek novel was of little to no interest to historians of antiquity. Within the previous few decades however academic opinion on the genre has steadily grown more favourable to the point where study of the Greek novel has experienced something of a revival, consequentially resulting in the rehabilitation of the genre into the internationally recognized wider corpus of canonical ancient literature. As a result of this invigorated engagement scholars have, quite naturally, deliberated over sociological aspects of the Greek novel within the historical context of its conception. Of paramount importance within this discussion has been the question of the novel’s intended and unintended ancient readership, as it is known that most, if not all, of the Greek novels were circulated widely throughout the Roman Empire, especially within the Greek-speaking Eastern Mediterranean, from the mid 1st century CE to the late 4th century.

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