Lucian of Samosata, True History

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Corrections for Lucian's A True Story, Hayes and Nimis

Post by EricSowell » March 8th, 2015, 8:22 pm

I'm reading through the reader's edition of Lucian's A True Story by Hayes and Nimis and collecting corrections. Just in case you guys would find them useful, I'm listing them here on my blog. ... ning-greek

I'm getting close to about half way through and will keep listing them there as I find them. I also mentioned in the post what I'm doing these days to practice my Greek but I'm not sure you guys will find that useful.

Anyway, if you haven't read it, I think the book is a blast to read. The syntax is pretty easy. The vocab is crazy but the notes in the edition solve that problem well.
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Lucian of Samosata, True History

Post by cwconrad » March 9th, 2015, 6:01 am

Lucian's ᾿Αληθῆ Διηγήματα, a.k.a. Verae Historiae, and "True History", is a precursor, in its own fashion, of Swift's Gulliver's Travels. I am delighted to learn that there is an inexpensive "reader's edition" of this work now readily available as a "print-on-demand" text. Born in the Decapolis area across the Sea of Galilee in 125 CE, he evidently originally spoke a Syrian form of Aramaic, but he was educated, and came to write a marvelously lucid and elegantly witty style of Attic Greek. I've personally long felt that if I could write Greek well myself, Lucian's is the style I'd most like to emulate. Now I see that Eric Sowell has undertaken the reading of Lucian and has posted notes of his own in a blog and called attention to it in this forum. He belongs here, in my own rather somewhat perverse judgment: a Hellenistic Greek author, a native of the more Hellenized eastern side of northern Palestine in the same era as that of the emerging, New Testament corpus, who wrote Attic Greek at least as well as the best authors of the 5th and 4th centuries BCE.

I was quite pleased to see Eric Sowell's post and link to his blog entry on this curious literary concoction. Upon viewing his blog page, I do now remember suggesting the work as worthy of his reading several years ago. From it now I learn of the ready availability of inexpensive Greek texts with vocabulary not only of the True History but also of two works not by Lucian himself, although they are included within his extant literary corpus (attributed to "Pseudo-Lucian"). The first of these is The Ass (Λούκιος ἢ ῎Ονος, Lucius sive Asinus), a novelette composed not in Attic but in Hellenistic Koine, easy and fun reading in its own right but also a major inspiration for Apuleius' Latin classic, the Metamorphoses, better known in English tradition as The Golden Ass (it's worth noting, incidentally, that the final book of that classic offers the fullest ancient description of the process of initiation into a mystery cult). The other "reader's edition" noted by Eric is a curious work composed in Ionic dialect (interesting in its own right -- most readers of Greek know Ionic dialect only from reading Herodotus), On The Syrian Goddess (De dea Syria).

The "reader's edition" of the "True History" may be found at: ... f=as_li_tl

"The Ass" at: ... y_b_text_y

"On the Syrian Goddess" at: ... y_b_text_y
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Emma Ehrhardt
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Location: IN

Re: Lucian of Samosata, True History

Post by Emma Ehrhardt » March 9th, 2015, 9:17 am

The link for the "reader's edition" of the "True History" is invalid. Instead try: ... f=as_li_tl
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Emma Ehrhardt
Computational Linguist

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