A fairly typical Hellenistic intellectual in most respects,
Achilles Tatius lived sometime between the II and IV Centuries.
He was probably educated
in Alexandria and seems to have been interested in
philosophy, and literature. He is mostly famous as the author
of a far-fetched romantic
Leucippe and Clitophon, quite the page-turner
(or roller) with exotic locations, amazing plot-twists,
and an abundance of sex and violence. According to the
Suda, he eventually became a Christian and, indeed, the bishop of an
unnamed see. For some reason, modern historians reject this part of
his biography as a fabrication meant to preserve his works into
a more pious age. That is possible, but certainly there have been
plenty of risqué novelists who were or became religious,
and plenty of early bishops who started out as
pagan philosophers. One suspects that modern writers on the
subject are uncomfortable with the idea that so thoroughly
worldly an author might have had a spiritual side after all.
All known ancient biographical
sources (as of 1955) may be found in the
Stockholm edition of Leucippe and Clitophon
cited below. In the first decade of the XXI Century,
a sudden interest in the "ancient Greek novel" seems
to have arisen in scholarly circles, and much additional
research on Achilles is doubtless in progress even now.
Norman Hugh Redington
1911 Encyclopædia Britannica
St. Photius the Great:
Photius was unenthused, to say the least, about
the morality of Achilles' novel.
This is the most important ancient
- Isagoge ad Arati Phænomena
(Introduction to Aratus' treatise "Phenomena").
Some people think the Suda is mistaken in attributing
this work, or at any rate
the section On the Sphere, to Achilles.
- Leucippe et Clitophon.
Leucippe and Clitophon.
Greek text edited by Ebbe Vilborg, together with all known
ancient references to the author.
Stockholm: Almqvist and Wiksell, 1955.
The Adventures of Leucippe and Clitophon,
(Loeb Classical Library 45).
Greek text with facing-page English translation by
S. Gaselee. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard, 1917.
Leucippe and Clitophon.
Translated by Tim Whitmarsh.
The Amours of Clitophon and Leucippe.
Anonymous translation. London: T. Bickerton, 1720.
The most delectable and pleasaunt history
of Clitophon and Leucippe.
Translated by William Burton. London: Thomas Creede, 1597.
- A. M. McLeod:
Physiology and Medicine in a Greek Novel, (1969).
J. Hellen. Stud. (89): 97.
- Helen Morales:
Vision and Narrative in
Achilles Tatius' "Leucippe and Clitophon", (2004).
- Ian D. Redpath:
Achilles Tatius' "Leucippe and Cleitophon" --
What Happened Next? (2005).
Class. Qtly. (55/1): 250.
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