LUCIAN OF SAMOSATA (/ˈluːʃən, ˈluːsiən/ ;
Although he claimed to be a native Assyrian , his nationality is
Lucian wrote exclusively in
Noted for his witty and scoffing nature,
Lucian frequently poked fun
at superstition, religious practices, and belief in the paranormal. He
admired the philosophers
His most famous work is A True Story , a tongue-in-cheek satire
against authors who tell incredible tales, which is widely regarded as
the earliest known work of science fiction . His framing story The
Lover of Lies makes fun of people who believe in the supernatural and
contains the oldest known version of "The Sorcerer\'s Apprentice ",
while his letter The
Passing of Peregrinus contains one of the
earliest known references to
Lucian wrote numerous satires making fun of traditional stories about
the gods including The Dialogues of the Gods, Zeus Rants, Zeus
Catechized, and The Parliament of the Gods. His Dialogues of the Dead
focusses on the Cynic philosophers
* 1 Biography
* 1.1 Language and background * 1.2 Popularity * 1.3 Philosophical and religious affiliations
* 2 Works
* 2.1 Pseudo- Lucian
* 3 Legacy * 4 Еditions * 5 See also
* 6 Notes and references
* 6.1 Works cited
* 7 External links
Few details of Lucian's life can be verified with any degree of
accuracy, though clues can be found in writings attributed to him. In
several works he claims to have been born in
Samosata , in the former
LANGUAGE AND BACKGROUND
A Nabataean depiction of the goddess Atargatis dating from sometime around 100 CE, roughly seventy years before Lucian (or possibly Pseudo-Lucian) wrote The Syrian Goddess, currently housed in the Jordan Archaeological Museum
Almost everything that is known about Lucian comes from his own writings. The most important source is Lucian's narrative The Vision, which was probably delivered as an address when Lucian returned to his hometown of Samosata at the age of thirty-five or forty after having already made a name for himself as a great orator. In it, Lucian tells how, as a young man, his family lacked the money and resources to afford him an education, so his uncle took him on as an apprentice and began teaching him how to sculpt. Lucian, however, soon proved to be poor at sculpting and ruined the statue he had been working on. His uncle beat him, causing him to run off. Lucian fell asleep and experienced a dream in which he was being fought over by the personifications of Statuary and of Culture. He decided to listen to Culture and thus became a rhetorician.
In On the Syrian Goddess , which may or may not have been written by Lucian, the anonymous author claims to be a native Assyrian. Throughout the same work, the author uses the words "Assyrian" and "Syrian" interchangeably. In the final paragraph of the work, he describes a ritual in which initiates would dedicate a lock of their hair to Hippolytus as part of a pre-marital coming-of-age ritual. The narrator comments, "I performed this act myself when a youth, and my hair remains still in the temple, with my name on the vessel."
In the dialogue Double Indictment,
Lucian claims to be a native
speaker of a "barbarian tongue", which has been suggested to refer to
Syriac , a dialect of Aramaic . A more likely interpretation is that
he is referring to speaking an unpolished variety of Greek,
considering that there is no evidence Aramaic was spoken in Samosata
Lucian wrote exclusively in
There are eighty-two surviving works attributed to him (though several are doubtful): declamations, essays both laudatory and sarcastic, satiric epigrams, and comic dialogues and symposia with a satirical cast, studded with quotations in alarming contexts and allusions set in an unusual light, designed to be surprising and provocative. His name added lustre to any entertaining and sarcastic essay: more than 150 surviving manuscripts attest to his continued popularity.
Lucian was trained as a rhetorician , a vocation whose practitioners
pleaded in court, composed pleas for others, and taught the art of
pleading. Lucian's practice was to travel about, giving amusing
discourses and witty lectures improvised on the spot, somewhat as a
rhapsode had done in declaiming poetry at an earlier period. In this
Lucian travelled through
Ionia and mainland Greece, to Italy and
PHILOSOPHICAL AND RELIGIOUS AFFILIATIONS
What blessings that book creates for its readers and what peace, tranquillity, and freedom it engenders in them, liberating them as it does from terrors and apparitions and portents, from vain hopes and extravagant cravings, developing in them intelligence and truth, and truly purifying their understanding, not with torches and squills and that sort of foolery, but with straight thinking, truthfulness and frankness.
Lucian frequently mocked superstition, certain religious leaders, and traditional stories about the gods, but nonetheless professed belief in the gods\' existence . In his dialogue The Lover of Lies, he speaks his own views through the mouth of his narrator Tychiades: DINOMACHUS: 'In other words, you do not believe in the existence of the Gods, since you maintain that cures cannot be wrought by the use of holy names?' TYCHIADES: 'Nay, say not so, my dear Dinomachus,' I answered; 'the Gods may exist, and these things may yet be lies. I respect the Gods: I see the cures performed by them, I see their beneficence at work in restoring the sick through the medium of the medical faculty and their drugs. Asclepius , and his sons after him, compounded soothing medicines and healed the sick, – without the lion's-skin-and-field-mouse process.'
There are 80 surviving works attributed to Lucian. He wrote in a variety of styles which included comic dialogues, rhetorical essays, and prose fiction.
Lucian was also one of the earliest novelists in Western
civilization. In A True Story (Ἀληθῶν Διηγημάτων), a
fictional narrative work written in prose, he parodies some of the
fantastic tales told by
His dialogue Philopseudes (Φιλοψευδὴς ἤ Ἀπιστῶν, The Lover of Lies) is a frame story satirizing belief in the supernatural . The work is particularly notable because it includes the oldest known version of "The Sorcerer\'s Apprentice ," along with several of the oldest known ghost stories .
Lucian also wrote a satirical letter entitled The Passing of
Peregrinus , in which the lead character,
Peregrinus Proteus , takes
advantage of the generosity of
Lucian's Dialogues of the Dead (Νεκρικοὶ Διάλογοι) is a satirical work centering around the Cynic philosophers Diogenes of Sinope and his pupil Menippus , who lived modestly while they were alive and are now living comfortably in the abysmal conditions of the Underworld, while those who had lived lives of luxury are in torment when faced by the same conditions. Lucian's Dialogues of the Gods (Θεῶν Διάλογοι), meanwhile, ridicules traditional Greek stories about the gods. Lucian also wrote several other works in a similar vein, including Zeus Catechized, Zeus Rants, and The Parliament of the Gods.
Lucian's On Dance (Περὶ Ὀρχήσεως) contains one of very
few literary discussions of dance - specifically pantomime - that
treats Roman dance in detail. His
There is debate over the authorship of some works transmitted under Lucian's name, such as the Amores and the Ass. These are usually not considered genuine works of Lucian and are normally cited under the name of "Pseudo-Lucian". The Ass (Λούκιος ἢ ῎Oνος) is probably a summarized version of a story by Lucian, and contains largely the same basic plot elements as The Golden Ass (or Metamorphoses) of Apuleius , but with fewer inset tales and a different ending.
The Macrobii (Μακρόβιοι, "long-livers"), which is devoted to longevity, has been attributed to Lucian, although it is generally agreed that he was not the author. It gives some mythical examples like that of Nestor who lived three generations or Tiresias , the blind seer of Thebes , who lived six generations. It tells about the Seres (Chinese) "who are said to live 300 years" or the people of Athos, "who are also said to live 130 years". Most of the examples of "real" men lived between 80 and 100 years, but ten cases of alleged centenarians are given. It also gives some advice concerning food intake and moderation in general.
Lucian's writings had a profound influence on later writers. Lucian's
True Story inspired both
Sir Thomas More 's
* Neil Hopkinson (ed.), Lucian: A Selection. Cambridge Greek and Latin Texts (Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008). * Fowler, H. W. -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">
* ^ Guy G. Stroumsa (2009). "Transformations of Ritual". The End of
Sacrifice: Religious Transformations in Late Antiquity. The University
of Chicago Press. p. 79. the pagan
Lucian of Samosata, makes him one
of our most precious witnesses about various "mystery" cults
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* ^ howard D. Weinbrot (2005). "Introduction. Clearing the Ground:
The Genre". Menippean