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ROMANCE

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Romantic narratives, especially of imaginary adventures of travel, appear among the Greeks with particular frequency after the time of Alexander the Great, owing to Greece having then been brought into contact with the East (See EUHEMERUS); but these are known to us only by their titles and by fragments. Such ethnographical fables form, moreover, the oldest element in the romance respecting Alexander which is preserved under the name of CALLISTHANES. By earlier writers love-stories are only incidentally introduced, although in the form of popular local legends they were disseminated in all the districts of Greece. From the time of Antimachus they were adopted with particular predilection as themes for poetic treatment by the elegiac poets, especially in the Alexandrine age. There is extant a prose compilation of such legends collected Kromo historians and poets by the poet PARTHENIUS in the time of Augustus. The earliest example of prose narratives of the amatory type is the " Milesian Tales" (Milesiaca) of ARISTIDES of Miletus (about 100 B.C.), which are regarded as forerunners of the later love-romances. Even in the earliest example of such a romance which is known to us (at least as to its general contents), the Wonders beyond Thule of Antonius DIOGENES (probably in the 1st century A.D.), there appears that combination of fantastic adventures of travel with a tale of love which is common to all the later romances, almost without exception. This branch of literature came to maturity in the age of the later Sophists, who, among their other literary exercises, wrote amatory compositions in the form of narratives and letters. We possess works of this kind by PHILOSTRATUS, ALCIPHRON, and his imitator ARISTAeNETUS. One of the oldest of the romances which spring from this time is that of the Syrian IAMBLICHUS (in the 2nd century), entitled Babyloniaca. This is extant only in an epitome. The romances of XENOPHON Of Ephesus, HELIODORUS of Emesa, LONGUS ACHILLES TATIUS of Alexandria, and CHARITON of Ephesus are extint in a complete form. Among these that of Heliodorus is distinguished for its artistic and skilful plot, and the pastoral romance of Longus for its poetical merit. The treatment of these romances is to a considerable extent sketched out in accordance with a fixed pattern, and consists of a simple multiplication of successive adventures. Two lovers are separated by untoward chances, generally robbers by land and sea; and it is only after manifold trials and wonderful experiences in slavery and in strange lands that they are finally once more united. In the pourtrayal of love they deliberately endeavour to catch the spirit of the Alexandrine elegy; the language is the artificial and affected language of the sophistic age. Such " dramas," as the later writers call them, were also frequently composed in the Byzantine period; e.g. by EUSTITHIUS. Among the Romans the earliest work of the kind was the translation of the Milesiaca of Aristides by Sisenna (about 70 B.C.); for this reason the Roman epithet for a romance is Milesia. The most important and the only original production is the satirical romance of manners of PETRONIUS (middle of the 1st century A.D.). This work, which is unfortunately preserved only in fragments, is of a kind which has no parallel in Greek literature. The Metamorphoses of APULEIUS, which are likewise of the highest value for the history of manners at the time (2nd century), and are interesting on account of the novel-like narratives inserted in them, are derived from a Greek model. Besides these works this form of composition is still represented in extant Latin literature by the translation I of the Alexander-romance of the pseudo-Callisthenes by Iulius VALERIUS (about 200). Similarly, the writings of the pretended DICTYS and DARES (4th and 5th centuries), which are examples of the literature of forgery relating to the destruction of Troy, are probably to be referred to Greek sources. Lastly, there is the wonderful history of APOLLONIUS of Tyre, a revised version of a Greek romance (6th century), which was much read in the Middle Ages.

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