Hansen has assembled an anthology like no other, which will fascinate students of late antiquity, folklorists, and curiosity-seekers, and will offer new possibilities to teachers of ancient-culture surveys." -Classical World
... lively, entertaining, and unique anthology... This anthology is appropriate not only for graduate and undergraduate students in classics but for anyone interested in the transmission of folklore." -Journal of American Folklore
... higly readable English translations of a wide variety of Greek texts... a solid introduction to the general question of 'popular literature' in the ancient world." -Bryn Mawr Classical Review
... what one hopes for in an anthology... this volume can be used as a textbook yet is of benefit for the scholar, has clear, well-written, and well-formed introductions that avoid eccentricity while noting different viewpoints, and provides a representative selection of mostly complete works." -The Petronian Society Newsletter
Readers in ancient Greece didn't curl up with only the weighty tomes of Homer, Plato, and Sophocles-they also enjoyed light entertainment such as novels, short stories, fantasies, jokes, and fortune-telling handbooks. In fact, some of this literature was so successful that it remained in circulation into the Middle Ages. Most of these selections are little known except to scholars, but all will prove an unexpected delight to readers everywhere.
William Hansen is professor of Classical Studies and of Folklore at Indiana University. He has published widely on early Greek epic, Greek mythology, and folklore. His books include Saxo Grammaticus and the Life of Hamlet (a study of the Hamlet legend) and Phlegon of Tralles' Book of Marvels (a study of popular literature).
Introduction Part One: Popular Fiction 1. Romantic Novel Xenophon of Ephesus, an Ephesian Tale Translated by Moses Hadas 2. Christian Novella Anonymous, the Acts of Paul and Thecla Translated by R. Mcl. Wilson 3. Wisdom Literature Anonymous, Secundus the Silent Philosopher Translated by Ben E. Perry 4. Comic Novel Pseudo-lucian, Lucius or the Ass Translated by Paul Turner 5. Comic Biography Anonymous, the Aesop Romance Translated by Lloyd W. Daly 6. Historic Novel Pseudo-callisthenes, the Alexander Romance Translated by Ken Dowden Part Two: Popular Compilations 7. Wonders Phlegon of Tralles, Book of Marvels Translated by William Hansen 8. Fables Anonymous, Collectio Augustana Translated by William Hansen 9. Jokes Hierocles and Philagrius, the Laughter Lover Translated by William Hansen Part Three: A Popular Handbook 10. Fortunetelling Anonymous, the Oracles of Astrampsychus Translated by Randall Stewart and Kenneth Morrell Part Four: Popular Literature in Public Places 11. Popular Literature on Stone Gravestone Verse Translated by William Hansen Works Cited