By Patricia A. Rosenmeyer

The 1st referenece to letter writing happens within the first textual content of western literature, Homer's Iliad. From the very starting, Greeks have been enthusiastic letter writers, and letter writing turned a different literary style. Letters have been incorporated within the works of historians yet in addition they shaped the root of works of fiction, and the formal substructure for plenty of sorts of poem. Patricia Rosenmeyer, an expert at the historical past of the Greek letter, assembles during this e-book a consultant collection of such 'literary letters', from Aelian and Alciphron to Philostrartus and the intended letters of Themistocles. The booklet can be important for all scholars of Greek literature in particular these learning Greek (and Latin) letter.

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Additional resources for Ancient Greek Literary Letters: Selections in Translation (Routledge Classical Translations)

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If they didn’t get everything they asked for right away, they were angry, spiteful, and quick to curse us. And if they spread lies about us, people believed them, assuming they knew best because they’d been in our company. So we had two options: to stop sharing and let them utterly hate us, or to give all our property away and immediately become completely impoverished, one of the needy ourselves. At dinner, poor people didn’t bother so much about filling up and satisfying their hunger, but when they’d had a bit too much to drink, they’d grab the hand of a pretty slave boy who was trying to give them back their wine cup, or they’d try to seduce your mistress or your wife.

He did not limit himself to a single genre, but produced dialogues, novellas, rhetorical introductions ( prolalia) and showy rhetorical speeches (epideixis). He also enjoyed the literary effect of the letter form, with an epistolary essay ostensibly addressed to his friend Philo entitled How To Write History, for example, and an epistolary preface to his dialogue Nigrinus. The first excerpt below comes from his most famous work, A True Story, a picaresque prose fiction written in the first person, which describes his adventures at the edge of the civilized world.

Here Lucian imagines a letter exchange between representatives of two social groups—the poor and the rich—as they petition Kronos, demanding better treatment from their fellow men. The entire exchange consists of four letters: two from Kronos, and one each from the plaintiffs. I have selected two letters: one from Kronos to the rich, and the other the rich men’s response, which both contain numerous allusions to the poor men’s complaints and give a clearer picture of the whole problem. Although Kronos tries initially to pass on the responsibility for the situation to Zeus, the current Olympian ruler, he does take their complaints seriously, and tries to suggest some practical solutions.

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