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date: 22 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the fraught relationship between Second Sophistic discourse and koinē fiction of the second and third centuries ce. Taking its point of departure from a comparison (synkrisis) of Dio of Prusa’s first oration On Kingship and the α-recension of the Greek Alexander Romance, the chapter goes on to argue that Second Sophistic discourse and koinē fiction are not just two different bodies of contemporaneous writings that happened to appear side by side. Rather, they remain engaged in an intertextual agon where literary production in koinē—as opposed to Attic—Greek constitutes a dialectical negation of the overtly imperialist political agendas and monologic cultural objectives that inform Second Sophistic composition. Further consideration of the Life of Sekoûndos and the Story of Aseneth shows how koinē fiction of this period not only aggressively contests the goals and priorities of the Second Sophistic, but pointedly turns its norms and ideals inside out.

Keywords: Dio of Prusa, Aelius Aristides, Alexander Romance, Life of Sekoûndos, Story of Aseneth, Mikhail Bakhtin, heteroglossia, Alexandrian poetry, Atticism, Greek dialects, Nectanebo, Egyptian magic, Septuagint, Thebes, Constantine Cavafy

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