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Defining Greek Narrative$
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Douglas Cairns and Ruth Scodel

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748680108

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748680108.001.0001

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Heliodorus the Hellene

Heliodorus the Hellene

(p.260) 13 Heliodorus the Hellene
Defining Greek Narrative

J. R. Morgan

Edinburgh University Press

Heliodoros was a native of the Syrian city of Emesa.. Heoliodorus’ novel, with its Ethiopian heroine who returns to her homeland, has been interpreted as an ideological contestation of Hellenism by a representative of a marginalised culture, which ends offering an alternative ‘Helleno-centrifugal’ perspective. This chapter shows that it is wrong to see a polarity between Hellenism and Emesa, and that the novel self-consciously positions itself squarely within the classical tradition, and presents itself intertextually as the consummation of that tradition. It shows no influence from non-Greek narrative traditions. Finally, although the novel is profoundly interested in what Greek identity means, its ethnic and cultural alterities are themselves part of the classical tradition, assembled from a kit provided by the canonical texts of Hellenism. Even the fictional Ethiopia is an ideologically Hellenic construct.

Keywords:   Heliodorus, Helleno-centrifulgal, ideological contestation, Greek identity, intertextuality

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