Xenophon, Ephesiaka [An Ephesian Tale]

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Among the five surviving ancient Greek romantic novels, all relating the vicissitudes of a betrothed or married couple, Xenophon's may be the earliest (first or second century CE), or earliest but one (depending on the dating of Chariton's

Chaereas and Callirrhoe

). Nothing is known of the author, or the circumstances of composition. The work, which has come down to us in five books, is entitled


or “The Ephesian Tale”. It is mentioned only in a Byzantine encyclopedia called


, which, however, states that it was in ten books. This has led some scholars to suppose that the work we have is an abridgement, but arguments for major lacunae in the text are not convincing.

The work survives in one manuscript, discovered in the 18th century, and so did not have an influence on the

872 words

Citation: Konstan, David. "Ephesiaka". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 February 2009 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=24667, accessed 13 June 2024.]

24667 Ephesiaka 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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