Perspective and Ideal in Chariton's "Chaireas and Callirhoe"

Document Type


Publication Date


Journal / Book Title

Acta Classica


Chariton's Aphrodisias celebrated Greek, Roman and even Eastern traditions, as the Greek novelists did generally, and his romance shares many elements of Second Sophistic practice; fittingly, the text's opposition of Greek vs. barbarian is rather nuanced; various passages undercut such ethnocentric presumptions by showing Greeks and Asians relying (mistakenly) on traditional views of each other. The basically happy outcomes enjoyed by Artaxerxes and Chaireas, compared to the relatively sad fate of Dionysios, a character who embodies many of the aspirations of Chariton's readers, is connected to their participation in one of two myths of the ideal state; one of the glorious Greek past (Syracuse), the other of Rome as eternal world-state under correctable rulers who followed ideal conceptions of kingship. Ideal presentations of life, love and society are central to romance, but Dionysios' fate underscores the distance between real possibilities and romantic ideals.

Journal ISSN / Book ISBN

0065-1141 [print] 2227-538X [online]

Published Citation

Jean Alvares. “Perspective and Ideal in Chariton’s ‘Chaireas and Callirhoe.’” Acta Classica, vol. 43, 2000, p. 5.