Abstract and Keywords
This chapter discusses the novels of Chariton and Xenophon of Ephesus. Both are engaged with central concerns of the Second Sophistic, in particular that of elite Greek identity. Chariton’s novel (composed in the second century and connected with the sophist Dionysius of Miletus) demonstrates the same empathetic recreation of the classical past as sophistic declamation, and defines the Greekness of his protagonists in antithesis to a Persia configured to enable the exploration of the contemporary accommodation of the Greek elite to Rome. In his vision, paideia is a central constituent of Hellenic identity, enacted through an important third character, who represents an older erotic paradigm in contrast to the romantic heroes. Xenophon’s novel (probably an epitome), on the other hand, uses a contemporary setting to explore the nightmare of the loss of social status and control over one’s own person.
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