Seeing Gods: epiphany and narrative in the Greek novels. (2024)

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The Greek world was full of the divine, and the imagined world ofthe ancient novels was no different. (1) Divinity and its worshippervade the novels' narratives, helping to unite, drive apart, andthen reunite their protagonists. In this paper, I explore therelationship between ancient religion and literature, the transformationof literary tradition, and the place of the marvelous in thenovels' narratives by examining the role that one aspect of thehuman experience of the gods, epiphany, plays in the genre. Although thenovelists describe very few scenes of actual epiphany, (2) they makeabundant use of the epiphanic metaphor in what I will call"epiphanic situations," when an internal audience reacts tothe hero or, most often, the heroine of the novel as if he or she were agod or goddess. These epiphanic situations transform the common metaphorof divine beauty into a reality, at least as experienced by the internalaudience, (3) and they offer the novelists an alternative to ekphrasisfor expressing ineffable beauty.

My argument in this paper charts a course between several widelydivergent views of the role of religion in the novels. The first isrepresented by Tomas Hagg who proposed a "secular-literaryinterpretation" of epiphany, privileging the literary and aestheticqualities of the epiphanic metaphor over its power to describe areligious experience. (4) Hagg's highly aestheticizing reading ofthe genre's epiphanic scenes, which focuses primarily on Chariton,argues against both Karl Kerenyi's and Reinhold Merkelbach'svery different suggestions that the novels were close reflexes of sacredtexts. (5) While Kerenyi believed that the novels were purely secularworks which drew on the structures of Egyptian religious narratives(specifically those of Isis and Osiris), Merkelbach argued that thenovels were in fact encoded sacred mystery texts, whose true meaningcould only be understood by initiates. (6) Both theories, which areoften conflated, have been strongly resisted by more recent scholars,but in the words of Ken Dowden they remain "strangelyinfluential." (7)

My approach differs from all three. Although I do not follow eitherKerenyi or Merkelbach, I give fuller weight than Hagg to the novel' s treatment of epiphany as part of a wider cultural and religioussystem. In particular, I advance three specific claims about the role ofepiphany and epiphanic situations in the genre: first, the novelistsdraw upon a literary tradition of describing what is at heart areligious experience by using and adapting a well-established set ofepiphanic protocols in Greek literature and culture; second, theseepiphanic situations are an integral part of the novels' genericself-definition and, as such, they are remolded and reshaped bydifferent authors to suit their individual narrative strategies; third,epiphany's emphasis on sight and recognition is implicated withother concerns that have been recognized as central to thenovelists' projects, namely their interest in visualrepresentation, personal identity, and the narration of the marvelous.(8) I suggest that the novels' treatment of epiphany and epiphanicsituations shows that they are deeply engaged with ancient religiousexperience, as refracted through the Greek literary tradition.Ultimately, the epiphanic metaphor derives its power from the awesomeexperience of meeting a god or goddess face-to-face, and I outline areading of the novels that gives weight to their engagement with Greekreligion without suggesting that they themselves are sacred texts. (9)

Greek Epiphanic Conventions and Protocols

The epiphanic experience kindled the Greek literary imaginationfrom the beginning; divine epiphanies appear in a remarkably diverse setof literary and epigraphic texts from Homer to the Roman imperialperiod. Before I turn to the novels, this section lays out thefundamentals of Greek epiphanic protocols and conventions. I provide adetailed discussion here, because several important studies on epiphanyin Greek literature and culture remain unpublished. (10)

The English term "epiphany" refers to the awe-inspiringmoment in which a divinity reveals him- or herself or manifests his orher power to a mortal or group of mortals, whether in a dream or a"waking vision." (11) Al-though the noun [TEXT NOTREPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is not used in a religious sense until theHellenistic period, (12) divine epiphanies could instead be marked by aremarkably consistent vocabulary and set of "epiphanicprotocols" for describing a three-step process: the moment ofdivine self-revelation (usually expressed by [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE INASCII] in the middle voice), mortal perception (most typically expressedby the aorist of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and/or the noun [TEXTNOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), and, finally, recognition (often expressedby [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). These epiphanic protocols arealready evident in the earliest literary epiphanies, such asAthena's appearance to Achilles near the beginning of the Iliad(1,197-200):

 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. She stood behind him and grabbed the son of Peleus by his golden hair, appearing to him alone. None of the others saw her, but Achilles was amazed. He turned around and immediately he recognized Pallas Athena. Her eyes flashed terribly.

Athena's epiphany to Achilles, which will serve as myparadigmatic example, is described by a tripartite sequence andvocabulary of appearance ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), sight([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), and recognition ([TEXT NOTREPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). Achilles' perception of Athena is bothvisual and tactile: he first notices her when she grabs his hair, but itis not until he turns and sees her that he recognizes her as a goddess.This process is repeated with some variation in epiphanic scenesthroughout Greek literature, and by the time of the novels it had becomewell-established. (13) The fact that Athena's epiphany preventsAchilles from slaying Agamemnon illustrates another typical feature ofsuch scenes: gods seldom appear to mortals without reason. Epiphanicgods can hinder or prevent; they can provide aid or advice to mortals;and they can establish new rituals. (14) In a significant subset ofepiphanic encounters, the appearance of one or more divinitiesauthorizes certain types of poetic composition. (15) All of these typesof epiphany are manifestations of the gods' power.

It is important to stress that these scenes are not rigidlyinvariable, and that authors work within and against establishedepiphanic conventions. (16) For instance, apart from visual and tactileepiphanies, human experience of divinity can also be auditory or evenolfactory. (17) In some cases, the moment of recognition is replaced orsupplemented by a description of mortal surprise, terror, and awe. (18)Further, aretalogy, a narrative of the miraculous deeds of a god orgod-like holy person, frequently accompanies a description of epiphany.(19)

In this paper, I will be concerned with an equally significantvariation on epiphanic conventions: moments in which the appearance of amortal, not a god or goddess, triggers an epiphanic response. Theseepiphanic situations depend upon the duality of two intimately relatedand complementary phenomena in Greek religious thought: a mortal'slikeness to a divinity, sometimes termed Gottahnlichkeit, on the onehand, and divine anthropomorphism on the other. (20) Mortals'resemblance to divinities could function on many levels, but thenovelists single out their protagonists' visual beauty and, lessoften, their voice (e.g., Chariton 2,3,8) for comparison. Paradoxically,artistic representations of divinities simultaneously depend upon,reinforce, and challenge the similarities between men and gods; godswere imagined and depicted in cult statues as looking like humans, butmore beautiful and more outstanding. (21) In their own use of theepiphanic metaphor, the novelists consistently highlight andproblematize the relationship between god, mortal, and artisticrepresentation.

These epiphanic situations represent the novels' mostprolonged and subtle engagement with epiphany. Although they are notunique to the genre, (22) they are highly typical of it, occurring inall five extant novels and in at least some of the fragments; (23) I amaware of no other prose genre which integrates such scenes so thoroughlyinto its narratives. (24) In fact, despite the challenges of definingthe novels as a genre, (25) these epiphanic situations are so pervasiveand are adapted so self-consciously by later novelists that, I argue,they are an important generic feature, which should be counted amongother so-called conventions of the novels, such as travel, piracy, andScheintod (apparent death). (26) As such, they represent a significantpoint of contact between individual authors, who constantly receive,transform, and reinvent them; in so doing, these authors express arelationship to and an affiliation with the novelistic genre as a whole.

First Appearances: Epiphanic Situations in Chariton and Xenophon ofEphesus

Already in Chariton's Callirhoe, the earliest of the extantnovels, (27) epiphanic situations are tightly interwoven with thenovel's narrative and descriptive strategies. Chariton, whosetreatment of epiphany has been the most widely recognized and discussed,(28) contributes to the establishment of an epiphanic tradition in thenovelistic genre through the reception and transformation of other Greekepiphanic traditions. In his novel, the focus of the epiphanic metaphoris on his heroine Callirhoe, whose godlike beauty inspires supernaturalawe in any mortal she encounters. Chariton's narrative of her firstappearance in Ionia at the end of Book One offers a striking example ofhow the text draws on the Greek epiphanic protocols to express divinebeauty. (29) When the pirate Theron tries to sell her as a slave in thisscene, she appears so beautiful that some of the Ionian onlookersbelieve they are experiencing an epiphany of Aphrodite herself:


After removing her veil and loosening her hair, [Theron] opened thedoor and he told Callirhoe to go in first. Leonas and all the peopleinside were awestruck when she suddenly appeared--some of them thoughtthey saw a goddess, <others worshipped her>--for it was said thatAphrodite made epiphanies in the fields.

In this passage, Chariton employs a compressed set of epiphanicprotocols to describe Callirhoe's effect on the Ionians. Theirsurprise at her arrival collapses the epiphanic process of sight,recognition, and astonishment into a single verb ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLEIN ASCII]), which emphasizes their amazement at the suddenness of herentrance and her striking beauty. By shifting Chariton'sdescription away from her appearance to the internal audience'sreaction to her, the epiphanic metaphor functions as an alternativenarrative strategy to ekphrasis. (30) The effect of seeing her and beingin her presence, therefore, is tantamount to that of experiencing anepiphany of Aphrodite herself, and this scene foreshadows theequivalence and antagonism between Callirhoe and the goddess that isparticularly prevalent in the first half of the novel. (31)

In narratological terms, Chariton's emphasis on thecrowd's reaction also has the effect of marking a strongdistinction between his narrator and the internal audience. Forinstance, the narrator's comment that they "thought that theysaw a goddess ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII])" makes theepiphanic nature of Callirhoe's appearance explicit, but it alsoundercuts the crowd's narrative authority. Their mistakenidentification of her with Aphrodite is further motivated andrationalized by the explanation ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) thatthere was a rumor ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) that the goddessmade epiphanies ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) in the fields. Isuggest that Chariton's efforts to distance his narrative voicefrom the perceptions and beliefs of the internal audience are part of abroader strategy, familiar from the historiographical andparadoxographical traditions, for narrating the marvelous. (32) In fact,this technique, in which the primary narrator expresses doubt about thebeliefs of his internal audience, is used in the earliest extant proseaccount of an epiphanic situation: Herodotus' description ofPisistratus' efforts to regain the tyranny in Athens (Hdt. 1,60).(33) According to Herodotus, Megacles and the would-be tyrant outfittedan exceptionally tall and beautiful woman named Phye with a panoply([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), seated her in a chariot, and droveher into the center of the city:

 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Hdt. 1,60,5). And immediately the report spread throughout the demes that Athena was bringing Pisistratus back, and the citizens, believing that the woman was the goddess herself, worshipped the human and welcomed Pisistratus.

Herodotus' narrative provides a model for understanding theepiphanic situations in the novels. (34) Like Chariton, Herodotusdescribes a rogue character, who uses the religious conventions ofepiphany to persuade a group of spectators that a physically exceptionalwoman is a goddess. Both women's divine appearance is partiallyaccomplished by adornment: Callirhoe's makeover revealed hergodlike beauty, (35) whereas Phye, bedecked in a panoply, was dressed toresemble cult representations of Athena Promachus. (36) The visualsimilarities between these young women and their respective divinelookalikes helps to rationalize and explain the internal audience'sepiphanic experience. Further, in both scenes the narrator makes astrong distinction between himself and the thoughts of the onlookers.(37) This contrast between the superior knowledge of the authorialpersona and the inferior knowledge of the internal audience is explicitin Herodotus' paradoxical expression that the Athenians"worshipped the human ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII])."Herodotus, like Chariton, is concerned to separate the fact of thematter (Phye's "epiphany" was a trick devised byPisistratus to regain power) from the way in which her appearance wasinterpreted (Athena had made an epiphany). There is no doubt, however,that both Chariton's and Herodotus' internal audiences reactto these exceptional women as if they were Aphrodite and Athena.

What does it mean for the experience of viewing a beautiful womanto be like viewing a divinity? Ancient sources often report that seeinga statue produced the same epiphanic response as seeing a god orgoddess, facilitating the threefold identification of woman, statue, andgoddess. (38) We might further suggest, then, that Callirhoe'sresemblance to Aphrodite is mediated through artistic representations ofher. (39) A later case of mistaken identity in Book Three cleverlyprobes the relationship between epiphany, anthropomorphism, and cultstatue. In this scene, a priestess tries to comfort Callirhoe with thenews that some strangers had come and worshipped a statue of her in thetemple of Aphrodite: (40)

 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Chariton 3,9,1). Now foreigners even worship you as a goddess. The other day two handsome young men sailed here. One of them nearly fainted when he beheld your image: Aphrodite made you so epiphanic.

The priestess describes an abbreviated version of the epiphanicprotocols: sight ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) followed by a singlemoment of recognition and surprise, all expressed in the phrase "henearly fainted" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). In her telling,Callirhoe's appearance is so similar to Aphrodite's thatviewing a representation of the goddess or of the mortal produces thesame epiphanic experience. The priestess' final sentence, which hasoften proved difficult to translate, (41) hints at an invented culttitle for Callirhoe: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Modeled on thetitles of gods and divine kings, (42) her newly-coined epithet suggestsa further blurring between girl and goddess, and it emphasizes theepiphanic power of her appearance.

From the perspective of the reader, however, there is yet anotherlayer to Callirhoe's epiphanic effect. The "foreigners"([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) were actually her husband Chaereasand his companion Polycharmus. They worshipped her statue not because ofits likeness to the goddess, but rather as a representation of Callirhoeherself. (43) The novels abound in recognition scenes, but what makesthis moment so striking is that Chaereas' and Polycharmus'response to Callirhoe's image is exactly the response the priestesswould expect of foreigners experiencing an epiphany of Aphrodite. Infact, when she first encounters the two awestruck travelers at 3,6,4,she supposes that Aphrodite herself has appeared to them. Froma Zeitlininterprets this earlier epiphanic situation as follows: "Epiphanyand statuary seem to amount to the same thing. The text here refuses todistinguish between the full divine presence of one (Aphrodite 'inperson' and in image) and mere representation or imitation(Callirhoe)." (44) I submit that the situation at Chariton 3,9,1 iseven more subtle: in addition to conflating epiphany withrepresentation, this scene self-consciously plays with the conventionsof divine anthropomorphism and epiphanic situations. The priestess'interpretation depends on her understanding Callirhoe's epiphaniceffects; (45) the fact that Chaereas and Polycharmus are actuallyaffected by the sight of Callirhoe qua human being not qua goddesssubverts both the reader's and the priestess' expectations forthe experience of viewing her.

Callirhoe epiphanes establishes what will become a flexible andadaptable paradigm for equating the experience of viewing a beautifulyoung woman with the epiphanic presence of a goddess. Xenophon ofEphesus, the closest of the extant novelists to Chariton in date, (46)begins his work with just such a scene, when at a festival of Artemisthe Ephesians worship his heroine Anthia as if she were the goddessherself: (47)

 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (X. Eph. 1,2,6-7). She wore a belted purple tunic, which was knee-length and fell over her shoulders; there was a fawn skin wrapped around it; a quiver was attached to it; arrows ... she carried javelins; and there were dogs following her. Frequently when they saw her inside the sanctuary, the Ephesians worshipped her as Artemis. And then too, when she was seen, the crowd let out a shout and there were many exclamations among those viewing her. Some in their amazement said that she was the goddess, others that she was a double fashioned by the goddess. They prayed to her; they worshipped her; and they congratulated her parents. There was a cry among all the spectators: "Anthia, the beautiful!"

The crowd's response to Anthia's appearance in a shrineclosely follows the epiphanic protocols I have been discussing: she wasseen ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]); the crowd shouted ([TEXT NOTREPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]); and some in their amazement ([TEXT NOTREPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) proclaimed her a goddess. In fact, her beauty,dress, adornment, and weaponry are all highly suggestive of Artemis thehuntress. By setting this scene in a temple, Xenophon's textsuggests a triple identification between Anthia, Artemis, and cultimages of Artemis, an identification which is further encouraged by thenarrator's suggestion that Anthia could be "a double fashionedby the goddess." Unlike the scene involving Callirhoe's statuein the shrine of Aphrodite, however, it is far more difficult simply toequate girl, goddess, and image. Depictions of Artemis Ephesia weremarked by "egg"-shaped protrusions which have usually beenidentified either as breasts or bulls' testicl*s. (48) Thegoddess' legs were wrapped in a garment depicting busts of lions,bulls, and horses, as well as small insects, normally identified asbees. (49) If Xenophon was a native Ephesian (as tradition states,although this might have more to do with the setting of his novel thanany facts we know), he ought to have been aware of the difficulty ofcomparing a beautiful young woman to such a statue. (50)

In different ways from Chariton, Xenophon's expression ofAnthia's beauty problematizes the straightforward comparison of anovel's heroine with a female deity, and it raises importantquestions about the relationship between the Ephesiaca and itscontemporary context. Nonetheless, the very fact that Xenophon cancompare his heroine with the Ephesian Artemis' appearance suggeststhe extent to which epiphanic situations have become a regular featureof the novels. Such an argument becomes even stronger when one considersthe rest of Xenophon's work. This is not the only epiphanic scenein the novel, (51) and the inclusion of multiple epiphanic scenes insuch a rapid and unembellished narrative suggests their centrality tothe genre. (52)

Epiphany and Interpretation: Epiphanic Situations inHeliodorus' Aethiopica

Before examining the second-century novelists, Longus and AchillesTatius, I would like to turn to the latest, longest, and most ambitiousof the extant novels, Heliodorus' Aethiopica. Heliodorus hasbrilliantly reconfigured his narrative, which is oriented around threemajor religious centers (Delphi, Memphis, and Meroe) and theircorresponding cultures. As with so many of the novels' genericconventions, he has also reimagined and transformed the roles thatepiphany and epiphanic situations play in his work. In thissophisticated text, the epiphanic metaphor becomes more deeplyintertwined with the fundamental themes of the novel, such as personaland ethnic identity, the relationship between humans and the divine, andthe process of recognition and interpretation. At the same time, it canalso be applied to a broader range of phenomena. One of theAethiopica's most striking epiphanic moments comes in its arrestingand enigmatic opening, when a band of Egyptian outlaws, gathered at theHeracleotic mouth of the Nile, peep over a ridge at a young girl who was"persuading [them] that she was goddess" ([TEXT NOTREPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Heliod. 1,2,1). She tends a young man in themidst of slaughtered corpses:

 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Heliod. 1,2,5-6). And as soon as she spoke, she leapt from the rock, and [the bandits] on the hillside, struck simultaneously by wonder and surprise at the sight--just as if by a lightning storm--scattered and went for cover in the bushes. When she stood up she seemed to them larger and more godlike, her arrows rattling because of her sudden motion, her gold clothing glistening in the sun, her hair shaking like a Bacchant's under her crown as it ran down the length of her back. They were terrified by these things, but their incomprehension of the events was even more terrifying than seeing them. Some said that she was a goddess--Artemis or the native Isis--others that she was a priestess possessed by one of the gods and that she had worked the great carnage which they were seeing. They recognized these things, but in no way did they recognize the truth.

Heliodorus revels in ekphrastic word images and multipledescriptive strategies in this beautiful and puzzling scene. (53)Although his description is focalized through an Egyptian perspective,the details of Charicleia's appearance, particularly her longflowing hair and the arrows rattling on her back, suggest to a readerfamiliar with the Greek literary tradition that she is a goddess. (54)The Egyptian bandits themselves believe they are witnessing theappearance of a divinity (either Artemis or their native Isis (55)) or,the closest thing to a divinity, a priestess possessed by the goddess,(56) and their response to Charicleia is articulated in language highlytypical of epiphany: at the sight ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) ofher, they are "struck simultaneously by wonder ([TEXT NOTREPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and surprise ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE INASCII])." (57) In fact, the narrator informs us, they are mistakenand their lack of understanding ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII])causes them greater terror than the sight of the carnage itself. (58)Their incomprehension is reiterated in an ominous gnome, whichemphasizes the distinction between the internal audience'sincomplete understanding of the littoral scene and the narrator'sposition of greater knowledge: "They recognized these things ([TEXTNOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), but in no way did they recognize the truth([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII])." The verb [TEXT NOTREPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] often figures in the epiphanic moment ofrecognition, but, here, the narrator uses it to highlight the inaccuracyof the internal audience's thoughts and the deceptiveness ofappearances, a theme that will reappear throughout the Aethiopica. Theopening sequence therefore shifts seamlessly between perspectives; (59)in so doing, it captures the terrifying and awesome experience ofbeholding a divinity while also distancing Heliodorus' narratorfrom the internal audience. (60)

If we read the opening scene as being programmatic for the entirenovel, the epiphanic metaphor underscores the paramount importance thatthe process of decoding and interpretation will have in the novel atlarge. (61) For instance, although it is only through a gradual seriesof revelations that the reader learns the name of the girl (Charicleia),then of the boy (Theagenes), and finally the fact that the two will bethe novel's protagonists, the Egyptian bandits' epiphanicreaction to Charicleia adumbrates her role in the novel even before thatposition is made explicit. (62) Nonetheless, as Heliodorus'narrator stresses, their identification of Charicleia is incomplete, andthis is the first of several times that her identity will bemisinterpreted throughout this text. She looks like many things she isnot (a goddess, a Greek), and throughout the novel she lives with anever-shifting tripartite identity: Greek and Egyptian from her twofoster fathers, Ethiopian from her biological father. (63) Further, theepiphanic metaphor emphasizes her close connection with the divine. Herparticularly godlike appearance--she had, in fact, donned a crown oflaurel and her golden sacred robes from Delphi (5,31,2)--will beexplained later (5,28-33) as part of Calasiris' narrative of theevents leading up to the opening scene. (64) At the very end of theAethiopica, the connection becomes even closer, when Charicleia, whowill eventually be revealed to be part of the Ethiopian royal line, ismade a priestess by her mother (Heliod. 10,41,2). Finally, thebandits' uncanny ability to intuit the meaning of a scene, withoutbeing able to understand it entirely, looks forward to the crowd ofEthiopians gathered at Meroe, who are suddenly able to understand orguess at the meaning of the Greek being spoken among the Ethiopianroyals, even though they themselves do not know Greek (Heliod. 10,38,3).(65)

In a sprawling act of ring composition that encompasses almost theentirety of Heliodorus' narrative, Charicleia's epiphanicpresence in the novel's opening pages is connected to anotherequally striking epiphanic scene at its end. As the novel draws to aconclusion, the action has moved to the Ethiopian capital Meroe (locatedin modern Sudan). Here, on the edges of the earth, Theagenes faces theprospect of being sacrificed in an ancestral rite by Hydaspes, the kingof the Ethiopians and his father-in-law-to-be, when a giraffe suddenlyappears, the culmination of the tribute and gifts presented to the king.After a detailed description of the giraffe, an improbable hybridcreature possessing some features of a camel, some of a leopard, andsome entirely its own, Heliodorus describes the audience's reactionto its arrival in terms which evoke the epiphanic moment:

 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Heliod. 10,27,4). This animal, once it had made its appearance, struck wonder into the whole crowd and its form took its name from the most prominent features of its body: it was spontaneously called a "camelopard" [i.e., giraffe] by the Ethiopian audience. It threw the assembly into confusion.

The giraffe's arrival is described with precisely the sametripartite vocabulary and protocols as other epiphanic scenes I havediscussed. (66) In this case, however, the epiphanic metaphor has beenapplied not to a remarkably beautiful human being, but to a naturalmarvel. Although there is no explicit comparison between the giraffe anda god or goddess (the giraffe is quite literally incomparable), thetripartite vocabulary of appearance ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),wonderment ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), and confusion ([TEXT NOTREPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) suggests an epiphanic situation. Like epiphanicsituations elsewhere in the genre, the giraffe appears in front of alarge internal audience, which as a group simultaneously experiences anidentical reaction. Unlike the bandits' reaction to Charicleia,however, the giraffe is recognized for what it is; upon seeing it, thecrowd spontaneously invents its Greek name on the basis of itsappearance: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. The Ethiopian crowd'sHellenizing onomastic suggests that their perspective has shifted tobecome a hybrid one, which is now colored by Greek language and culture.Their act of naming has replaced the moment of recognition, the thirdelement of the tripartite structure of epi-phany, and, like theepiphanic situation with which the novel began, it emphasizes theimportant role that recognition and identification play in theAethiopica.

Heliodorus' application of the epiphanic metaphor to thegiraffe not only highlights its unusual and hybrid nature; (67) it alsosignals its importance for the narrative. The giraffe, which throws theassembly into confusion and startles one of the sacrificial bulls, setsin motion a chain of events that results in Theagenes' salvationand the abolition of human sacrifice in Ethiopia. Later in the book,Sisimithres, the head of the gymnosophists, will interpret this seriesof events as a sign that the planned rites are not acceptable to thegods:

 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Heliod. 10,39,2). You ought to have understood long ago that the gods do not accept the sacrifice that is being prepared: just now they revealed blessed Charicleia to you on the very [sacrificial] altars and they have transported her foster father here from the heart of Greece, as if through a stage device; next they struck the horses and oxen at the altar with fright and confusion, thus allowing you to understand that those sacrifices thought to be superior would be cut short; and now, as the finale of these happy events, as if the climax of a drama, they have revealed this foreign young man to be the girl's bridegroom!

Sisimithres provides a synopsis of the novel's tenth book, andhe divides the Aethiopica's dramatic conclusion into three distinctphases, indicated by three temporal adverbs, which only roughlycorrespond to the order in which they unfold in the narrative: first([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), the recognition of Charicleia'sidentity (which comes before the giraffe) and the arrival of her fosterfather (which comes afterwards), second ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE INASCII]), the divinely sent fear and confusion among the sacrificialanimals (which is caused by the giraffe), and, finally ([TEXT NOTREPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), the recognition of Theagenes asCharicleia's bridegroom. He makes the arrival of the giraffe--thecause of the confusion among the sacrificial animals--a critical link ina chain of divinely inspired events that leads to the salvation ofTheagenes and the abolishment of human sacrifice. Few commentators,however, have given the giraffe due weight as a catalyst for thenovel's surprising end. (68) In narratological terms, its arrivalplays the same role as Dionysophanes' appearance at the end ofDaphnis and Chloe, which I discuss below; both epiphanic appearances setin motion a series of events by means of which the protagonists areallowed to marry and the novel concludes happily. Insofar as theepiphanic giraffe is a crucial element in the events that lead to thesalvation of the novel's hero, it matches a well-known pattern ofdivinities providing aid to mortals. (69) In this sense, describing thegiraffe's arrival in epiphanic terms is appropriate not onlybecause of its startling appearance, but also because it can beinterpreted as an instrument of divine will.

Epiphanic Transformations: Achilles Tatius and Longus

From the perspective of tradition, Heliodorus' treatment ofepiphany and epiphanic situations represents a return to andtransformation of many of the paradigms established by Chariton andXenophon of Ephesus. Achilles Tatius and Longus, whose innovativesecond-century novels share several points of contact, (70) reinvent theepiphanic metaphor in very different ways from Heliodorus. (71) Forinstance, Longus' Daphnis and Chloe contains one of the mostexplicit scenes of actual epiphany in any of the novels. (72) In anexceptional scene at the end of Book Two, Pan's aretai are manifestthrough an entire night and into the following day: he causes greatcommotion for the Methymnaean soldiers (Longus 2,25,3-26), and hisinstrument, the syrinx, rings out (Longus 2,26,3). Finally, Pan himselfappears and speaks to Bryaxis in a dream vision (Longus 2,27). Earlierin Book Two, Philetas, a retired shepherd-singer reminiscent of theHellenistic poet of the same name, narrates an epiphany of Eros in hisgarden (Longus 2,4-6). (73) He tells Daphnis and Chloe that Erosappeared to him, taunted him, and told him his genealogy, beforesprouting wings and fleeing. Longus reports that the young couple treathis narrative "as a story rather than fact" ([TEXT NOTREPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Longus 2,7,1), thereby shifting skepticism aboutepiphany from the external narrator to the internal audience. (74)

Apart from these two explicit scenes of epiphany, Daphnis and Chloealso hints at the kind of epiphanic situations that occur elsewhere inthe genre. For instance, in a passage near the end of Book One, Daphnislooks at Chloe and thinks that he is seeing a nymph. This is one of thefirst steps in a gradual process by which the couple, who have spenttheir entire lives together, fall in love:

 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Longus 1,24,1). Seeing her in the fawn-skin and with the crown of pine leaves, as she was holding out the wine bowl, he thought that he saw one of the nymphs from the cave.

This scene shares its emphasis on sight and visual perception([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) with other epiphanic moments in thenovels, but Daphnis does not experience the recognition and accompanyingwonderment so typical of epiphany. This may be because he is not so muchrecognizing Chloe, whom he already knows very well, as seeing her in anew light, (75) but there are several details that suggest thatDaphnis' restricted epiphanic experience is also connected to hisnarrow cultural education. For instance, although nymphs are appropriatein the novel's pastoral world, (76) it is puzzling that Daphnisidentifies Chloe as one. Dressed in a fawn-skin and crowned with pineleaves, she looks much more like a Maenad than a nymph. (77) In a novelobsessed with the relation between nature and culture and betweenreality and image, it seems that Daphnis' perceptions of Chloe aremediated through his extremely limited familiarity with artisticrepresentations of the gods. (78) The nymphs, as experienced throughtheir statues (1,4), are his only point of reference for understandinghis response to Chloe's divine beauty, regardless of whether theyresemble what he sees. In the same way that the protagonists do notunderstand that they have fallen in love until they meet Philetas(2,3-7), Daphnis' limited education and lack of cultural knowledgepreclude him from fully understanding and expressing his epiphanicexperience of female beauty.

Longus also makes use of epiphany in new ways. At the end of thenovel, the epiphanic experience is the result of a person'sidentity rather than his or her divinely beautiful appearance.Dionysophanes, the biological father of Daphnis, evokes the experienceof epiphany both through his name, which literally means "Dionysusepiphanic," (79) and through his sudden appearance at 4,13,1, whichcauses the commotion ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) of herds,servants, men, and women. Like the giraffe, his arrival leads to therecognition of the protagonists' true identities (as nobles ratherthan as a poor rustic and a slave), and it precipitates a series ofevents which lead to Daphnis' and Chloe's marriage at thenovel's conclusion. In a sense, he and his sudden arrival in thepasture stand in for an epiphany of Dionysus, whose presence can be feltthroughout the novel's pastoral world, even though he never makesan appearance himself. (80)

Longus' transformation of the novels' tendency towardsepiphanic situations can be paralleled in his treatment of other commonnovelistic features: the hero and heroine of the novel do not fall inlove at first sight; instead, their relationship gradually grows overthe course of nearly two years (seven seasons); the novel takes place inan extremely geographically restricted setting and lacks thewide-ranging travel typical of the rest of the genre; the motif ofScheintod seems to be absent; and the sex scene between Daphnis andLycaenion is far more explicit than in any other novel. (81)Longus' treatment of these novelistic conventions represents a kindof oblique commentary on the genre, in that many of its norms have beenreinvented to fit his pastoral love story. Similarly, his use of theepiphanic metaphor also differs from the other novelists', but thefact that he reimagines these epiphanic scenes suggests their centralityto his view of what constitutes a novel.

If Longus challenges his readers' generic expectations,Achilles Tatius innovates by utilizing a radically different narrativestructure. (82) His novel employs its male protagonist, cl*tophon, as afirst-person hom*odiegetic narrator, that is a first-person narratornarrating his own life. cl*tophon exploits his narratological positionto great effect: by withholding information which he has learned laterhe is able to heighten the suspense of his narrative and can, for awhile, deceive his readers. (83) The epiphanic situations I havediscussed thus far have been marked by a strong distinction between theexternal narrator and the (potentially) fallible beliefs of the internalaudience. In Leucippe and cl*tophon, this distinction collapses;cl*tophon simultaneously acts as narrator (auctor) and as internalaudience, focalizer, and character in the novel (actor).' (84) As aresult of his narratological position, some scholars have been too quickto downplay the role epiphany plays in this text. Tomas Hagg writes:"Akhilleus Tatius does not weave the motif of epiphany into theplot or develop its potentials." (85) I suggest that the epiphanicmotif is not underdeveloped in Leucippe and cl*tophon, but rather thatit is treated differently because the novel is narrated differently.

When cl*tophon describes the first time he saw Leucippe, his cousinand the heroine of the novel, he narrates an epiphanic situation verysimilar to those in the rest of the genre, but one that is expressedfrom a first-person point of view:

 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Ach. Tat. 1,4,2-5). In their midst, there was a tall women, richly dressed. As I directed my gaze at her, on the left a maiden appeared in my view. Her face flashed over my eyes like lightning. I saw such a maiden once: a painting of Selene on a bull. Her eyes were pleasurably fierce. Her hair was blonde, curly yellow. Her brows were black, pure black. Her cheeks were white; the white became rosy toward the middle and the blush mimicked the purple into which a Lydian woman dips ivory. Her mouth was the flower of a rose, when the rose begins to open the lips of its petals. As soon as I saw her, I was immediately lost. Beauty wounds more sharply than a dart and it flows through the eyes straight to the soul; for the eye is the pathway for the wound of love. Everything seized me at the same time: admiration, awe, terror, shame, shamelessness. I admired her stature; I was awestruck by her beauty; my heart trembled; I looked shamelessly; I felt shame to have been conquered.

cl*tophon's first-person narrative unites an account of theepiphanic moment with an ekphrastic description of Leucippe'sbeauty. In so doing, he uses the language and imagery of epiphanydifferently from other novelists, making his description of theepiphanic experience simultaneously more intense and less authoritative.The large group scenes typical of Chariton, Xenophon of Ephesus, andHeliodorus have been replaced by a single individual's perceptions.Leucippe appears ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and her face flasheslike lightning ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). (86) As soon ascl*tophon sees her ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), he is"lost" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). He concludes with acatalog of emotions: admiration, awe, terror, shamelessness, and shame.Awe, terror, and admiration are typical of epiphanies; only the lasttwo, shame ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and shamelessness ([TEXTNOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), a paradoxical pair of emotional opposites,belong more firmly in the world of the erotic than of religiousexperience. (87) His description mixes the epiphanic metaphor with afirst-person erotic pathology; both express his helplessness as aspectator of Leucippe's overwhelming beauty and visual power. (88)

In addition to his narrative of the epiphanic moment, cl*tophonalso lavishes descriptive attention on Leucippe herself, comparing herto a painted image of Selene riding a bull. (89) Famous for her beauty,(90) the moon goddess is a fitting divine model for Leucippe's palecomplexion; she could also be identified with Artemis, (91) to whomChariton, (92) Xenophon of Ephesus, and Heliodorus liken their heroines.As his narrating gaze moves down her face, lingering particularly on hereyes, her hair, her brow, her cheeks, and her lips, his descriptionhovers between the woman and the image; it could apply equally to both.Such a comparison marks a departure from epiphanic scenes in the rest ofthe genre, in which statuary was the primary point of comparison. Bothplastic and painted arts privilege the role of sight, but thisnovel's world is dominated by paintings (e.g., 1,1,2-13;3,6,3-3,8,7; 5,3,4-8), (93) on whose two-dimensional canvasses cl*tophonsees, experiences, and describes detailed narratives. For him, visualexperience--whether of exotic animals, Leucippe, or art--is a vibrantekphrastic process, and his narrative of Leucippe's divinelybeautiful appearance is no different. Like the internal audiences inother epiphanic situations, cl*tophon is overwhelmed by Leucippe'sbeauty, which leaves him powerless to distinguish between woman,goddess, and art. Unlike other epiphanic situations, however, there isno external narrator to explain and rationalize his experience. Hisrestricted narrative, in which the perspective of the auctor is tied tothat of actor, swoons over Leucippe's beauty and the epiphanicexperience of viewing her.

cl*tophon continues to exploit his first-person restrictedperspective in another, very different epiphanic scene in Book Three,when it appears that native Egyptian bandits have killed Leucippe in agruesome ritual of human sacrifice (3,15,4-5). Just as cl*tophon isabout to commit suicide in despair, his friend Menelaus promises that"Leucippe will be resurrected" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE INASCII], Ach. Tat. 3,17,4). (94) After a few raps on her coffin, Leucipperises from the dead, her stomach gashed open and emptied of entrails.Her apparent revival and macabre appearance can only suggest that she isa reanimated corpse or a ghost, (95) but Menelaus promises cl*tophonthat he will show him Leucippe unwounded. He warns him to close his eyesbecause he is summoning Hecate:

 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII];" (Ach. Tat. 3,18,3-5) He began to speak hocus-pocus and to recite some formula. As he was speaking, he removed the device from Leucippe's stomach and he restored her to her former state. He said to me, "Uncover your eyes." And carefully and fearfully--for I truly believed that Hecate was present--I removed my hands from my eyes and I saw Leucippe perfectly intact. Still more shocked I asked Menelaus, "O dearest Menelaus, if you are some divine servant, I ask you, where in the world am I and what are these things I am seeing?"

This scene combines three important themes in the novels--Egyptianexoticism, epiphany, and Scheintod--with a first-person restrictednarrator. Leucippe appears not in a shrine, but in the wilds of the NileDelta, apparently under the spell of Egyptian magic. (96) As with otherepiphanic scenes, the setting plays a role in conditioning theexpectations of the internal audience. When cl*tophon finally opens hiseyes, he is "still more surprised" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE INASCII]) to see ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) Leucippe unharmed. Itake this description of visual perception followed by surprise to be anevocation of the epiphanic moment. His vision of Leucippe's healthybody seems even more supernatural than that of her ghost or of Hecateincarnate, and it leads cl*tophon to suspect that Menelaus is "somedivine servant" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). This scene inthe Nile Delta subverts our expectations; the world has been turnedupside down, and what is normal (Leucippe alive) becomes amazing. Theepiphanic metaphor no longer marks out Leucippe's supernaturalbeauty, but rather the surprise at seeing her alive and well. Shebecomes epiphanic on her own terms, rather than because of hersimilarity to a divinity.

How can a first-person narrator describe such an amazing andimprobable experience without losing credibility with his readers?cl*tophon's response, I suggest, is to separate his role as auctorfrom that of actor. In fact, several details of this passage belongexclusively to his auctorial persona. For instance, he narrates whatMenelaus did while his eyes were closed, (97) even though neither thereader nor cl*tophon as actor understand the significance of removingthe "device" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) fromLeucippe's stomach. Its role as a gory bit of costuming will onlybe revealed later (3,19-22). Finally, when cl*tophon explains hisreluctance to open his eyes, saying "I truly ([TEXT NOTREPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) thought that Hecate was present," theadverb [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] suggests that his belief mightnow, after the fact, be implausible. I would suggest thatcl*tophon's efforts as auctor to retrospectively rationalize theexperience of cl*tophon as actor are part of a strategy for narratingthe marvelous that appears throughout the genre, (98) whereby thenarrator distances himself from the thoughts and perceptions of theinternal audience in order to describe the most amazing events.

I conclude my discussion of Leucippe and cl*tophon with two closelyrelated scenes that further extend the scope of epiphanic language tothe experience of seeing a text written by Leucippe. Both occur inEphesus, during cl*tophon's brief marriage to the Ephesian widowMelite. In the first scene, cl*tophon has just discovered a letter fromLeucippe and recognizes her handwriting immediately. The letter'sepiphanic effect derives its power both from her textual presence andfrom her surprising announcement that she is alive. In the second,Melite discovers the letter and confronts cl*tophon with it. I suggestthat in these scenes the epiphanic metaphor illustrates thetextualization of the heroine, (99) in which the process of readingLeucippe's texts produces the same reaction as seeing her inperson:

(1) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Ach. Tat. 5,18,1-2).

 And when I approached, he said nothing, but handed me the letter. I took it and, before I read it, I was immediately stunned. For I recognized the writing of Leucippe.

(2) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Ach. Tat. 5,25,4).

 And she threw Leucippe's letter at me. Seeing and recognizing it, I shuddered and looked towards the ground as if I had been caught red-handed.

Without explicitly mentioning a god or a goddess, both scenes uselanguage evocative of epiphany to describe the moment cl*tophon sees andidentifies Leucippe's handwriting. In the first passage (5,18,1-2),the moment of visual perception is expressed through a reference toreading ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). This pun on twoetymologically related verbs, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (to read)and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (to recognize), suggests aconnection between reading as a process of seeing, decoding, andrecognizing and the very similar process encapsulated by the epiphanicmoment. In the second passage (5,25,4), cl*tophon's reaction isdescribed using the full epiphanic protocol of revelation, sight, andrecognition.

Insofar as reading a text is equivalent to viewing its subject, theeffect of Leucippe's letter in both scenes represents a novel kindof ekphrasis. When cl*tophon scrutinizes the letter more carefully, theekphrastic effect is even more explicit. He describes himself as"reading every word of it letter by letter, as if seeing Leucippethrough them" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 5,19,5). Theprocess of "reading" Leucippe, therefore, is equivalent toseeing and experiencing her presence; texts written by her become asubstitute for the real person. (100) cl*tophon's response toLeucippe's letter might therefore be compared to Chaereas'reaction to Callirhoe's statue (Chariton 3,6,1 and 3,9,1). In bothcases the male protagonist reacts to a representation of his beloved ina way that is suggestive of an epiphany. In Chariton's novel, therepresentation is a statue. Achilles Tatius gives the written word thesame status as the plastic arts. This is related to the novel'sbroader project of expressing visual beauty in textual form, and thesepassages in Leucippe and cl*tophon illustrate the power of writing torepresent Leucippe's corporeal presence as well as the nexus ofwritten representation, sight, and epiphany. (101)


cl*tophon's epiphanic reaction to a written document is afitting place to think more generally about the scope and significanceof epiphany in the novels. I hope to have shown how integral epiphanicsituations are to the novelists' conception of their genre and tohave outlined how the novels have received and reshaped a complex set ofepiphanic traditions in Greek literature and culture. Epiphanicsituations, in which a novel's heroine is compared to a prominentfemale deity (Aphrodite, Artemis, Isis, the nymphs, Selene, and Hecate),frequently emphasize female beauty and desirability, and they appear inall five of the extant novels and at least some fragmentary novels. Ineach case, they have been adapted to fit the broader contexts andconcerns of the novels in which they appear, but they retain as arecognizable core the tripartite epiphanic protocol of appearing,seeing, and recognizing that is attested throughout Greek literature. Inthis way, they resemble other generic conventions of the novels, whichare manipulated by individual authors in strikingly different ways.Throughout this paper, I have emphasized how epiphany and epiphanicsituations relate to the novels' interest in visual perception, thegaze, and the narration of miraculous events. In particular, epiphanicsituations, which are often mediated through the visual arts and have astrong tendency to be focalized through the perceptions and experiencesof an internal audience, can serve as an alternative or supplement toekphrasis. By shifting attention away from the object of perception tothe experience of viewing, they offer the novelists one strategy fordescribing the indescribable.

To conclude, I would like to return to Hagg's"secular-literary interpretation" of epiphany in the novels.(102) The argument of this paper suggests that it is indeed possible togive weight to the religious nature of epiphany and of the epiphanicmetaphor without reading the novels as encoded religious texts. Thegenre's preference for epiphanic situations over"genuine" epiphany does not mean that the novelists or theircharacters did not "believe in" epiphany. To the contrary,they go to great lengths to draw upon, to allude to, and occasionally tosubvert the religious, cultural, and literary traditions of epiphanicexperience. (103) Further, "genuine" epiphanies do occur inthe novels, but, crucially, they occur outside the main narrative: thegods appear in dreams, (104) in the mythical past, (105) or in settingsotherwise out of the narrator's view. (106) This distancingtechnique, which appears in both literary and epigraphic narratives ofepiphanies, (107) is familiar from the historiographical andparadoxographical traditions: by expressing their own doubts, authorslend plausibility to their fictional accounts. (108)

Yet, the novelists' frequent comparison of their protagonistswith divinities need not imply, as Reinhold Merkelbach interpreted it,that mortals were substitutes (Doppelganger) for the gods in thenovels' narratives. (109) Al-though they provoke the same epiphanicresponse as gods, paradoxically, the comparison of the protagonists withdivinities only emphasizes their mortality. In the novels, mortalsresemble divinities strictly in terms of their appearance: they are soexceptional to behold that they can be mistaken for gods, but thesemortals, who are tossed across the Mediterranean and face death time andtime again, poignantly lack the gods' power and immortality. Inthis way, the novels do not describe their heroes and heroines asliteral, but as literary, Doppelganger of the gods. (110)


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Bard College

(1) Zeitlin 2008, 91 writes: "The novels are full of: temples,shrines, altars, priests, rituals and offerings, dreams (or oracles),prophecies, divine epiphanies, aretalogies, mystic language and othermetaphors of the sacred (not forgetting, in addition, exotic barbarianrites)."

(2) In the novels, mortals are most frequently visited bydivinities during dreams: e.g., Chariton 2,3; X. Eph. 1,12; Longus1,7-8, 2,23, 2,26-27, 3,27, 4,34; Ach. Tat. 4,1,4; Heliod. 1,18; seefurther Hagg 2002, 57, Carlisle 2009, and Whitmarsh 2011, 194 n. 98 ondreams. True epiphanies in waking visions are much rarer: Longus 2,4-6(a vision of Eros reported by Philetas), 2,25-26 (a series of strangephenomena which are understood as the aretai of Pan); Ach. Tat. 2,2,3-6(a mythical tale of the epiphany of Dionysus), 7,12,4, and 8,18,1 (whichboth describe an epiphany of Artemis during battle); Heliod. 3,11,5-3,12(Calasiris reports seeing Apollo and Artemis in a night-time wakingvision).

(3) Cf. Hagg 2002, 53: "there is a constant oscillation in thenovels between metaphor--'divine beauty'--and religiousawe."

(4) Hagg 2002, 59.

(5) Kerenyi 1962 (see esp. 95-122 on the relationship between theprotagonists and the gods); Merkelbach 1962.

(6) In the afterword to the second edition of his work, Kerenyi(1962, 291 n. 2) explicitly distanced himself and his approach fromMerkelbach. Henrichs 2006 discusses the differences between the twotheories and their critical receptions.

(7) Dowden 2005, 3. Beck 2003 describes the critical backlashagainst Kerenyi and Merkelbach, but does not dismiss either theoryentirely, asking (132) "What is it about these novels that seems toresonate so deeply with the mystery cults--and vice versa?"

(8) On visual representation, see Bartsch 1989, Goldhill 2002,Zeitlin 2003, and Morales 2004; on identity, which is especiallyrelevant to Heliodorus' use of the epiphanic metaphor, see mostrecently Whitmarsh 2011; on the narration of the marvelous, see Morgan1982, Tilg 2010, 164-197 (on "novelty"), and Scippacercola2011.

(9) Several studies have examined the role of the gods either inspecific novels (Weissenberg 1997, Bargheer 1999) or across the genre(Alperowitz 1992). Others have focused on religion and religiouspractice in the novels: Edsall 2000-2001, Beck 2003, Bierl 2007, Zeitlin2008, and Bowie 2012.

(10) Platt 2011 offers an extremely sophisticated and subtletreatment of epiphany in literary texts, the visual arts, and Greekreligion. Petridou's unpublished dissertation (Petridou 2006),which provides the most systematic collection of epiphanic scenes inGreek literature, is eagerly anticipated in print. In the followingdiscussion, I am grateful to Albert Henrichs for sharing an unpublishedpaper which examines the language and tripartite protocols of epiphany([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). For epiphany in the Homeric Hymns,see further Richardson 1974, 208-209, 306-307 and 2010, 6, 81-82, 102,137, 141, 143.

(11) On the distinction between dreams and waking visions, seefurther Dodds 1951, 102-34 and Versnel 1987; for a definition ofepiphany, see Pfister 1924, Pax 1962, Graf 1997, and Henrichs 2012.

(12) The first attested usage of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]in a religious sense is in an inscription from Cos for the DelphicSoteria festival that thanks Apollo for his epiphany and his protectionof Delphi (278 BCE; [SIG.sup.3] 398,17, Nachtergael 1977, no. 1,SEG45,468); see further Nachtergael 1977, 152-164 and Platt 2011,154-157.

(13) Examples include Hom. Od. 16,155-177, h.Bacch. passim, butesp. 1-18 (with [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] used in place of [TEXTNOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], line 15), A.R. 2,674-684 (in which [TEXT NOTREPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ("wonder," line 681) simultaneouslysignals both the moment of recognition and the concomitant terror ofbeing in the presence of Apollo). For more examples, see Richardson1974, 252 and Petridou 2006.

(14) These categories are not mutually exclusive (a single epiphanycould fit in more than one category), but they aim to suggest the rangeof epiphany's possible functions. Some examples from early Greekpoetry: hindering: e.g., Hom. Il. 1,197-222, in which Athena preventsAchilles from slaying Agamemnon; aid or advice: e.g., Sappho fr. 1, inwhich Sappho asks Aphrodite to appear to her and help her, citing pastaid she has received; establishment of new rituals: e.g., Demeter toMetaneira, h.Cer. 188-211. In inscriptions, the motif of aid or adviceoffered by a divinity is most prominent: e.g., [SIG.sup.3] 398 (278 BCE;Nachtergael 1977, no. 1, SEG 45,468; see n. 12 above) and Delph. Inv.697, 698, 699 (246/5 BCE; Nachtergael 1977, no. 25, I.Smyrna 2,1,574, FDIII,1,483, SEG 46,547), which attribute the salvation of Delphi in 279BCE to an epiphany of one or more gods. See further Pax 1962, 842-844and Platt 2011, 154-157. Petridou 2006, 265-307 provides a differenttripartite categorization of epiphanies, which roughly corresponds withmy schema, but she focuses on the outcome for mortals rather than theagency of the divinity: epiphanies that provide an explanation;epiphanies that provide authority, validity, or legitimization; andepiphanies that functioned as a crisis management tool.

(15) The Muses' appearance to Hesiod (Hes. Th. 1-34) is theprototype for many such scenes; see most recently Platt 2011, 50-55. TheMnesiepes inscription from the Parian Archilocheion (SEG 57,809, ed. pr.Kontoleon 1952) relates the Muses' epiphany to and poeticinitiation of Archilochus (lines 27-41). The inscription is from themid-third century BCE, but the content may be much earlier (see Muller1985). Unlike the initiation of Hesiod, the Muses provide Archilochuswith a lyre, which is a physical token of his inspiration. In additionto these two archaic poets, Callimachus also claims divine interventionas the inspiration for his poetry at Aetia 1,21-24. His relationshipwith the god is more complex, however: Apollo appears in order to stophim from writing epic, and he bids him to turn to a different kind ofpoetry, which is embodied by the Aetia.

(16) Consider, for example, the play on epiphanic conventions at S.Aj. 1-37, in which Athena emphasizes that she can see Odysseus ([TEXTNOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and recognize his plans ([TEXT NOTREPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 36), even though he cannot see her (15). Forfurther discussion of this scene, see Pucci 1994, 18-31.

(17) For visual recognition of the gods, see Prier 1989, 56-64; onauditory recognition, see Pucci 1988, 6 with n. 4 and Pucci 1994, esp.18-31 (discussing the epiphany of Athena in S. Aj. 1-133, esp. 14-17).At E. Ba. 1082-1083, the words of the god are accompanied by a"light of holy fire" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 1083).On cases of olfactory epiphany, see Platt 2011, 12, 10, 56, 64 andPetridou 2006, 23 with n. 76, 318-321; examples include: Hes. fr. 140,h.Cer. 277-278, h.Merc. 231-232, Thgn. 1,8-9, [A.] Pr. 115-116, Eur.Hipp. 1391-1392, Ar. Av. 1715, and Mosch. Eur. 91-92. Epiphanicencounters frequently combine two or more modes of perception into amultisensory experience of the divinity.

(18) On awe in epiphanies, see further Richardson 1974, 208-209,306-307, Lane Fox 1987, 109, and Richardson 2010, 6, 81-82, 102, 137,141, 143. Awe is noted as a feature in the novels by Hagg 2002, 58 andDickie 2004, 168.

(19) The combination of aretalogy and epiphany occurs, forinstance, in Hor. Carm. 2,19, a text which engages deeply Greekepiphanic protocols and conventions. Horace says that he "saw"Dionysus (vidi, 2,19,2; the precise Latin equivalent of Greek [TEXT NOTREPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and that his "mind trembled with freshterror" (recenti mens trepidat metu, 2,19,5). The remainder of thepoem describes the wonders of Dionysus in aretalogical terms; seefurther Henrichs 1978.

(20) The first extant discussion of divine anthropomorphism comesin Xenophanes' critique of it (fr. 11, 14-16, 23 D-K); see furtherJaeger 1947, 47-48, Lesher 1992, esp. 85-94, Morgan 2000, 47-53. OnGottahnlichkeit or [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], as Plato terms theconcept at Tht. 176b, see Roloff 1970, 102-142 and Sedley 2000. Henrichs2010b, 32-35 and Platt 2011, esp. 77-123, 180-211, 322-329 explore howepiphanic narratives and visual representations of the gods depend onand problematize anthropomorphism. Kerenyi 1962, 95-122("Gottlichkeit und Leiden") discusses the similarities betweenthe protagonists of the novels and gods in order to connect them withEgyptian narrative texts insofar as they are "narratives of thesuffering of divine persons" ("Erzahlungen von Leidengottlicher Personen," 95).

(21) See further Burkert 1985, 182-189. Burkert (1997 and 2004,14-19) collects evidence for a priest or priestess imitating theappearance of the god in ritual contexts (citing, among other examples,X. Eph. 1,2,7, discussed below).

(22) For instance, Hellenistic ruler cult often used epiphany toemphasize the godlikeness of the king. The title [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLEIN ASCII] was first adopted by Ptolemy V, ruler of Egypt, in 197 BCE(OGIS 90A,5 (Rosetta stone); see further Koenen 1993, 65, Burkert 2004,16, and Platt 2011, 142-143). For a comparison between ruler cult andthe divine beauty of the protagonists of the novels, see Scott 1938. Inthe case of ruler cult, rulers wished to emphasize that they were likegods in all ways, not just in their looks.

(23) I have identified three possible epiphanic situations in thefragmentary novels: (1) Chione (?) P. Berol. 10535 col. ii, line 7-9:"They escorted ... and some were amazed and awestruck" ([TEXTNOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]); (2) P. Oxy. III 416 (considered"ambiguous" by Stephens and Winkler 1995, 409-415), lines 89:"I saw some god advancing with a shadowy figure and a mournful andfrightful visage" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]); (3) LollianusPhoenicica, P. Oxy. XI 1368, lines 6-15, termed a "reverseepiphany" by Henrichs 2010a, 77: "Glaucetes, astonished, as isnatural, said nothing in reply to this, but only nodded and kept onriding. The young man disappeared when he nodded, and Glaucetes keptriding quickly, all the while turning around in case he should see himagain, but he did not see him anymore." ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE INASCII])

(24) Pausanias, whose descriptions of epiphanies are prompted bythe sites he describes, is the only prose author who comes close, albeitin a very different way. Many of the epiphanies he narrates occurredduring battle; see further Pritchett 1979, 11-46 and Platt 2011, 218with n. 17. Plut. Arat. 32,1-2 describes an epiphanic situation similarto the ones I discuss in this paper: the daughter of Epigethes, whohappened to be sitting in a sanctuary of Artemis, was mistaken for thegoddess herself: "a vision holier than human appeared" ([TEXTNOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). See further Platt 2011, 12-14 for adiscussion of the passage.

(25) Whitmarsh 2013, 39 offers a productive way of thinking aboutgenre, describing it as "a relationship between texts, arelationship invoked for specific, tactical reasons and to shape thereader's literary reception of the work in question." On sucha definition, points of contact between novels become especiallyimportant for defining genre. The difficulties entailed in settinggeneric boundaries for the novels are illustrated by Henrichs 2011, whodemonstrates how new papyrological finds have challenged traditionalgeneric definitions; see also the discussions of Selden 1994, Holzberg2003, and Goldhill 2008.

(26) This paper does not consider Roman novels, but both Petroniusand Apuleius engage with Greek and Roman epiphanic conventions; examplesinclude: Petr. 16,2-17,3 (the Quartilla episode; see further Schmeling2011, 45-49), Petr. 127,5 (Chrysis' beauty provokes an epiphanicresponse; see further Schmeling 2011, 484-485), Apul. Met. 4,28,3(Psyche's beauty provokes an epiphanic response), Apul. Met. 11,3-7(a dream vision of Isis, which combines epiphany and initiation).

(27) P. Fay. 1, a papyrus roll which has been assigned to the firsthalf of the 2nd century by Cavallo 1996, 16, 25 pl. 7, 38, provides aterminus ante quem for the novel; see further Henrichs 2011, 311. IfPers. 1,134 ("After lunch, I give you Callirhoe" (post prandiaCalliroen do)) is a reference to the title of Chariton's novel, itwould require a first century CE date at the latest. Tilg 2010 has evenargued that Chariton was the inventor of the erotic novel.

(28) Cf. Alperowitz 1992, 43, Edsall 2000-2001, 116-117, Hagg 2002,52-56, Zeitlin 2003, Dickie 2004, 165-167, and Bierl 2007. On thesimilarity of Callirhoe to Aphrodite in Chariton's novel, seefurther Edwards 1991, 191-200, Edwards 1994, and Edwards 1996, esp.95-100. Edwards argues that there is a political dimension to thecomparison; he follows Scott 1938 in connecting Callirhoe's divinebeauty with ruler cult. Haynes 2003, 48-49, on the other hand,emphasizes the multiplicity of divinities to which Callirhoe is comparedthroughout the text.

(29) Cf. Hagg 2002, 54 for the importance of this scene for theplot of the novel; for more on the divine beauty of Callirhoe, seeSchmeling 2005.

(30) Hunter 2008, 759 discusses Chariton's limited descriptionof Callirhoe's beauty; Rohde 1914, 165-166 had already commented onwhat he perceived to be the novels' lack of specificity in theirdescriptions of female beauty.

(31) Antagonism: Chariton 2,2,6, 3,2,12, 3,10,6, 5,1,1, 7,5,2.Equivalence: Chariton 2,2,6, 2,3,5-6 (epiphanic), 3,2,14 (epiphanic),3,6,4 (epiphanic), 3,9,1 (epiphanic, see below), 4,7,5, 8,6,11.

(32) Cf. Morgan 1982 for Heliodorus' efforts to create "acredible ambience" (222) in the Aethiopica; I extend his analysismore generally to the efforts of all the novelists to make theirfictional narratives more plausible and persuasive, often byacknowledging the strangeness of what they report (see further Schepensand Delcroix 1996 on this technique in paradoxography). Charitonparticularly emphasizes the paradoxical in his text; see further Tilg2010, 164-197, who catalogues and analyzes the uses of the word [TEXTNOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ("strange") in the extantnovelists. I would not, however, go so far as Tilg in takingChariton's emphasis on novelty as evidence for his invention of thegenre; rather, I would suggest that Chariton's is one of severalstrategies employed by the novelists to narrate the marvelous.

(33) There are earlier poetic examples of mortals mistaking humansfor divinities, e.g., Hom. Od. 6,149-152, where Odysseus asks Nausicaawhether she is a "god or a mortal" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE INASCII]; 6,149). It is presumably Nausicaa's beauty to whichOdysseus refers; the entrance of Phye in Herodotus is far lesserotically charged.

(34) Connor 1987, 44 compares Phye's arrival in Athens to thebeginning of Xenophon of Ephesus' novel, where Anthia, its heroine,is likened to Artemis. He offers a highly rationalizing explanation forthe treatment of a woman as if she were a goddess: "The populacejoins in a shared drama, not foolishly duped by some manipulator, butplayfully participating in a cultural pattern they share." Thebibliography on this passage is immense; see especially Sinos 1993,Harrison 2000, 90-92, Asheri, Lloyd, and Corcella 2007, 122-123, andPlatt 2011, 15-17.

(35) By loosening her hair, Theron made Callirhoe look more likeAphrodite, whose artfully styled hair becomes a topos in Hellenisticpoetry: see, e.g., Call. Lav. Pall. 21-22, A.R. 3,45-48.

(36) Such representations can be seen in LMC "Athena" no.118-173.

(37) On Herodotus' scepticism about Phye's epiphany, seeHarrison 2000, 90-91. It seems that distance is a key factor that makesepiphany narratives credible. Harrison 2000, 91 writes of Herodotus:"Belief in divine epiphanies depends on their happening in somefar-away place, to a friend of a friend or a very long time ago."Divinities often appear in mortal guises; see Richardson 1974, 179-180for Homeric examples. Euripides' Bacchae, in which Dionysus appearson stage dressed as a human, plays with this possibility to brillianteffect: the human actor is playing a god pretending to be a human.

(38) Cf. Gordon 1979, Gladigow 1985-1986, Gladigow 1990, Piettre2001, and Platt 2011, 7783; Burkert 1997 argues that anthropomorphicrepresentations of gods in cult statues in fact derived from theexperience of epiphany. Zeitlin 2003, 77-78 and Hunter 2008, 759 discussthe relationship of god, human, and representation in Chariton.Heliodorus makes precisely this comparison: when Charicleia is capturedand presented to the second group of Egyptian bandits ([TEXT NOTREPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), they assume that she is a "living,breathing statue" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 1,7,2)plundered from a temple. The identification of a beautiful girl with acult image can also be found in Satyrus' description of Melite atAch. Tat. 5,11,5: "Seeing her, you would say she was a cultstatue" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). The word [TEXT NOTREPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] can simply refer to statuary in general, but thepervasive metaphor of divine beauty suggests that Satyrus' point ofcomparison is a representation of a goddess.

(39) In fact, Hunter 2008, 759-761 suggests that thenarrator's description of Callirhoe after bathing (Chariton 2,2,2)evokes Praxiteles' Aphrodite of Cnidus, the famous statue whichrepresented the goddess just before her bath. At Chariton 3,8,6, thenarrator makes a more explicit comparison between Callirhoe, who isholding her new-born son, and a representation of a divinity: "Shewas a most beautiful sight, such as no painter painted, no sculptormoulded, no poet described before now. For none of them has representedArtemis or Aphrodite holding a babe in her arms." ([TEXT NOTREPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]).

(40) The statue was an "offering from Dionysius" ([TEXTNOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Chariton 3,6,3), a phrase which suggests theclose connections between Aphrodite and Callirhoe. On Chariton'sdescription of the sanctuary of Aphrodite and of her worship at Miletus,see Jones 1992, 163-164 and Trzaskoma 2012, 300-301. In 1989, an Archaicperi-urban sanctuary of Aphrodite was discovered on Zeytintepe Hill,just outside the Archaic city walls of Miletus; see further Senff 2003.Greaves 2004 collects evidence of worship of Aphrodite in both Miletusand its colonies.

(41) Hagg 2002, 55 discusses the possible translations of ????????,which can also mean "visible" or "manifest."

(42) The term [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] can be used as atitle of gods (e.g., IG 5,1,1179) or god-like kings (e.g., Ptolemy V,Antiochus IV, Antiochus VI, Seleucus VI); see note 22 above.

(43) See Montiglio 2013, 35-36 on the "infallibility ofChaereas's eye," which allows him to distinguish Callirhoefrom Aphrodite.

(44) Zeitlin 2003, 81. Platt 2011, 77-123 examines the interactionbetween divinity, cult statue, anthropomorphism, and aniconism; seefurther Gordon 1979, Gladigow 1985-1986, Gladigow 1990, and Piettre 2001on the relationship between Greek gods and their representations.

(45) In fact, Chaereas' and Polycharmus' reaction echoesDionysius' own epiphanic experience of seeing Callirhoe in the sameshrine of Aphrodite (Chariton 2,3,6): "Seeing her Dionysiusshouted: 'Aphrodite, may you be propitious and may you appear to mebenevolently!'" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].")

(46) Xenophon's reference to an eirenarch (2,13,3, cf. 3,9,5;see Rife 2002) has often been thought to suggest that the novel waswritten in the early second century CE. The decisive argument for thenovel's date may come from Xenophon's reference to sailing toNuceria rather than Pompeii or Stabiae (5,8,1). On this basis, Coleman2011 places the composition of the novel in the period "after itbecame known that the harbours at Pompeii and Stabiae had been destroyedin the eruption of AD 79 and before the rehabilitation of Stabiae becamecommon knowledge" (27), that is at the end of the first century CEor the start of the second century CE.

(47) Cf. Hagg 2002, 53-54; both Anthia and Habrocomes are describedin epiphanic terms, but as Hagg observes, Xenophon emphasizes thatHabrocomes is "a [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], not the realthing."

(48) Fleischer 1973 catalogues representations of Artemis fromEphesus, Anatolia, and Syria; the vast majority of the images conform tothis description. Although the protrusions are well-attested, both theirinterpretation and their significance remain a puzzle. Burkert 1999,68-70 rejects the possibility that they are breasts on the basis oftheir position in the earliest surviving representation (Fleischer 1973,no. E 58, pl. 55). Instead, he supports the explanation proposed bySeiterle 1979 that the protrusions were bulls' testicl*s, which hadbeen sacrificed to the goddess; compare the illustration in Seiterle1979, fig. 14. Most recently, Joanna Schmitz has argued in a paperpresented to the AIA in 2009 that the protrusions are fresh figs, avisually plausible interpretation.

(49) Cf. Burkert 1999, 69. The identification of the insects hasbeen challenged by Schmitz 2009. She argues that the small insectassociated with Ephesus, which appears both on coinage and Artemis'garments, is the fig wasp, not the bee. Such fine entomologicaldistinctions are difficult to establish given the small size of the figwasp and the varied ancient depictions.

(50) Thomas 1995, 86-98 suggests that Xenophon is participating ina broader Ephesian "reimaging" of the goddess; similarly,Whitmarsh 2011,29-30 argues that "it is misleading to allow ouridea of Ephesian cult to be exclusively dominated by the [protuberantAnatolian hybrid]" (29). Although I agree that local andPanhellenic images of Artemis did coexist, the Ephesian statue stillseems to be the most obvious point of reference. Her image was closelyassociated with the city through statuary and in its coinage. Apart fromcoins and statues, Minicius Felix (third century CE) described theEphesian Artemis' "many breasts" (mammis multis, Octavius22,5). See further LiDonnici 1992, esp. 395-396, who argues that theimage of Ephesian Artemis was particularly important to the city'sself-identity, and that her statue was often used as a symbol for thecity itself.

(51) Later in the novel, there is an even more elaborate epiphanicscene involving both Anthia and Habrocomes, when the couple arrives inRhodes: "All the Rhodians gathered, amazed at the beauty of theyouths. No one who saw them walked by in silence. Some said that it wasa visit from the gods; others worshipped and prayed to them. Swiftly thename of Habrocomes and Anthia spread through the whole city."([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], X. Eph. 1,12,1; see also Hagg 2002,57).

(52) The novel has often been thought be an epitome; see furtherHagg 1966, who argues that the case for epitome has not been proven, butsuggests that the text may have suffered through its medievaltransmission. In his introduction to the Loeb edition of the text,Henderson 2009, 200-211 persuasively rejects the possibility that thetext is an abridgment.

(53) Cf. Bartsch 1989, 77, who describes it as "badly in needof interpretation."

(54) Compare the description of Apollo at Hom. Il. 1,46-47:"His arrows clanged on his shoulders as he rushed down in hisanger. He came like night" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). Longflowing hair is also typical of divinities; see note 35 above onAphrodite's beautiful tresses.

(55) For the identification of Artemis and Isis during the Romanimperial period, see Witt 1971, Dunand 1973, and LiDonnici 1992, 406.

(56) Priests and other cult personnel often took on the dress andattributes of the god or goddess that they served; see further Burkert1985, 97-98, Burkert 1997, Burkert 2004, 14-19, and Platt 2011, 16 n.58.

(57) Cf. Edsall 2000-2001, 121-123, Hagg 2002, 56, and Whitmarsh2002, 118: "The awe of the bandits, moreover, hints at the epiphanyof a deity." Whitmarsh 2002, 119 suggests that this scene"alludes intertexually to Odyssey 6.150f." While not excludingsuch an allusion, I would like to emphasize how this scene works withinand transforms the novelistic use of epiphanic scenes, and how centralthe epiphanic nature of Charicleia's appearance is to the themes ofthe novel as a whole.

(58) A major theme of the Aethiopica is the difficulty ofrecognition and interpretation, cf. Winkler 1982, esp. 114-137 andBartsch 1989. Recognition in the moment of an epiphanic encounter isalways challenging; see further Platt 2011, 58.

(59) In the terminology of Don Fowler, this would be an example of"deviant focalization," that is a change in focalizer that isnot explicitly signaled by the text (Fowler 1990).

(60) Morgan 1991, 86-90 discusses the shifting and unstabledistinction between the perspectives of the reader, the bandits, and theauthor in this scene.

(61) See also Whitmarsh 2002, 116-119 and Haynes 2003, 67-70 on thedifficulty of identifying Charicleia.

(62) Novels often open with their female protagonists beingmistaken for divinities, as in Chariton 1,1,16, X. Eph. 1,2,7, and Ach.Tat. 1,4,2-5 (discussed below). In both Chariton and Xenophon, thefemale protagonist is explicitly compared to Artemis; this isparticularly striking in Chariton given the close relationship betweenCallirhoe and Aphrodite throughout the novel.

(63) On Charicleia's tripartite identity in the Aethiopica,see further Whitmarsh 1998, Whitmarsh 1999, Elmer 2008, and Whitmarsh2011, 108-135.

(64) See further Edsall 2000-2001, 123-124.

(65) See further Morgan 1991, 90-94 on the Ethiopian audience inBook Ten of the Aethiopica.

(66) Henrichs 2010a, 66-67 discusses the application of theepiphanic metaphor to the giraffe's appearance. Another epiphanicsituation involving an animal occurs at Luc. Zeux. 9-10. Antiochus Isuddenly unveiled sixteen elephants, which caused the opposing Galatiansand their horses, who had never seen an elephant before, to be"thrown into confusion by the surprising sight ([TEXT NOTREPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII])."

(67) Apart from Charicleia and the giraffe, Heliodorus describes indetail how the Nile is revealed to be a hybrid entity at Meroe, thefusion of the Astaborrhas and the Asasobas (10,5,1). On the importanceof hybridity in the novel; see Whitmarsh 1998, Whitmarsh 1999, and Elmer2008.

(68) Morgan 1978, 463 emphasizes the giraffe's"structural function" in the narrative; cf. also Winkler 1982,102 and Bartsch 1989, 149, who cites the giraffe as an example ofdescriptions which "function within the narrative as movers of theplot" (148).

(69) This pattern is attested in both literary texts andinscriptions. For instance, divine assistance is already common in theHomeric poems. Epigraphic examples are particularly abundant starting inthe Hellenistic period ([SIG.sup.3] 398 and Delph. Inv. 697, 698, 699are perhaps the most famous; see further n. 12 and 14 above). The battleepiphanies described by Pausanias also fit this pattern; see furtherPritchett 1979, 11-46 and Platt 2011, 218 with n. 17.

(70) Cf. Whitmarsh 2011, 93: "The two works have much incommon (it is more than likely that one author read the other, althoughit is hard to be confident which is the prior)." Both novelistshave been dated to the second century CE, but with different degrees ofconfidence. The relatively secure second-century date for AchillesTatius depends on P. Oxy. LVI 3836, edited by Parsons. Longus, on theother hand, has not yet been found on papyrus, although he is generallyassumed to have been active in the second century CE. On the dating ofLongus (and its challenges), see further Henrichs 2011, 312.

(71) Whitmarsh 2011, 69-107 highlights other ways in which thesetwo novels "self-consciously revise the paradigms established byChariton and Xenophon" (106).

(72) In Ach. Tat. 7,12,4 (repeated in 8,18,1), Sostratus cites anepiphany of Artemis as the reason for his visit to Ephesus, but thescene of epiphany is not described. In a narrative of the origins of theTyrian wine-harvest festival, cl*tophon recounts how Dionysus appearedto a Tyrian shepherd and taught him to make wine (Ach. Tat. 2,2,2-6).The god's epiphany, however, is set in the distant past, outsidethe novel's timeframe.

(73) Cf. Hagg 2002, 57-58 and Nickau 2002. Nickau 2002 emphasizeshow the epiphany of Eros interacts with other literary accounts ofepiphany, chiefly Homeric ones.

(74) Hagg 2002: 58 suggests that "not even the naive childrenof Longus' creation believe in epiphany!" This goes too far;it seems more likely that they can sense the difference between theartifice of singer-shepherd and "reality," a distinction thatis constantly highlighted, explored, and, ultimately, blurred throughoutthe novel, starting with the preface.

(75) This is certainly true for Chloe, for whom the perception ofDaphnis' beauty represents a kind of de-familiarization (Longus1,13,2): "Daphnis seemed beautiful to Chloe as she watched him;because he seemed beautiful to her for the first time then, she thoughtthat the bath was the cause of his beauty" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLEIN ASCII]).

(76) Larson 2001, 56-8 discusses Longus' nymphs and theirimportance for the narrative. Throughout Greek myth and art, nymphs wereassociated with herdsmen and the bucolic; see further Larson 2001,78-87.

(77) She wears the "Bacchic fawn-skin" ([TEXT NOTREPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) that Dorcon gave her (Longus 1,15,2). CompareMorgan 2004b, 170: "Fawn-skins and pine-crowns have not previouslybeen linked with the Nymphs; D[aphnis] reaches for the only divinity inhis experience." The fawn-skin is typical of and, indeed, a"sacred garment ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], E. Bach.138)" of Maenads; see also E. Bacch. 24, 111, 176, 249, 696, 835.In E. Bach. 866 the chorus of Maenads compare themselves to dancingfawns, an apt metaphor both for their choral dancing and their dramaticpersonae. In addition, vases often depict Maenads wearing fawn-skins;see further Edwards 1960, esp. 80-81 n. 17-18.

(78) Although Daphnis knows the names of Zeus, Pan, Dionysus, andthe Satyrs (1,16,3-4) and uses them in his argument with Dorcon, heevidently cannot recognize a Maenad.

(79) Cf. Schonberger 1980, 204: "Beim Namen Dionysophanes sollman wohl an die Epiphanie eines Gottes denken."

(80) Morgan 2004b, 8-9 summarizes many of the Dionysiac referencesin the novel: e.g., nymphs, Maenads, the seasons, the vintage, and,finally, the garden of Dionysophanes, which contains paintings onDionysiac themes.

(81) Cf. MacQueen 1990, 124-137 on the relation of Daphnis andChloe to the other novels; MacQueen argues that Longus does not violatethese norms, but rather that he has "transformed them" (136).

(82) It seems that Leucippe and cl*tophon is part of a trend ofnarratological exploration in the novels and, indeed, in Greek prosefiction of the second century CE. The earliest extant work of prosefiction narrated in the first person is probably Petronius'Satyrica, although the fragmentary nature of the text makes itimpossible to be certain about its overall narrative structure. Thefirst-person narrative of the Lucianic Onos is likely to have beencomposed in the second century CE (on its transmission and authorship,see further van Thiel 1971, Mason 1994, and Zanetto 2010). P. Oxy. LXX4762, which preserves another ass novel, is probably a third-personnarration (see Obbink's commentary on lines 5-8). It is thereforepossible that the first-person narration was a Lucianic innovation (ifindeed the novel was written by Lucian); if so, the first-person versionof the ass novel in Greek would be roughly contemporary with the date ofAchilles Tatius. Lucian's Verae Historiae (second century CE) alsocleverly plays with the relationship between first-person narrative andfiction; its first-person narrator adopts the rhetoric of eyewitnesshistoriography all the while proclaiming to narrate falsehoods (seefurther Whitmarsh 2011, 85-89). During the same time period, Apuleiuswrote the Metamorphoses in Latin, a novel which exploits thepossibilities of first-person narration to their fullest extent (seefurther Winkler 1985 and May 2006). In addition to first-personnarrative, authors of prose fiction in the second century alsoexperimented with a variety of other narrative forms. Lollianus'Phoenicica, which has often been connected to the Metamorphoses (Jones1980 and Winkler 1980), seems to have had a complex third-personnarrative with multiple embedded first-person narrators (see furtherStephens and Winkler 1995, 321 and Henrichs 2010a, 74; the newestfragment, P. Oxy. LXXIII 4945, is consistent with this assessment).Antonius Diogenes' The Incredible Things Beyond Thule, likely fromthe second century CE (Stephens and Winkler 1995, 118-119), takes thepenchant for narrative complexity and experimentation even further.According to Photius, his work had at least seven layers of embeddednarration (Photius codex 166, p. 109a6-112a12 Bekker; see furtherStephens and Winkler 1995, 114-118).

(83) Cf. Hagg 1971, 112-137; see further Fusillo 1989, 165-178 andMorgan 2004a on cl*tophon as narrator. The most striking example of thistechnique occurs in the gruesome scene at Ach. Tat. 3,15-18, where itappears that Leucippe, the novel's heroine, has become thesacrificial victim of a group of Egyptian bandits. In fact, as cl*tophonlearns later, his friend Menelaus and his slave Satyrus have constructedan elaborate trick to save Leucippe.

(84) I have adopted the terminology of Winkler 1985, esp. 135-179for this narratological distinction.

(85) Hagg 2002, 56, who recognizes only the reported epiphany ofArtemis to the Byzantines (Ach. Tat. 7,12,4, repeated in 8,18,1).

(86) In fact, it is possible that Heliodorus' description ofthe Egyptian bandits as being struck "as if by a lightningstorm" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Heliod. 1,2,5; discussedabove) is meant to recall and embellish cl*tophon's ownmeteorological metaphors in his epiphanic description. Weather patterns,especially lightning, could count as a form of aniconic epiphany; seefurther Petridou 2006, 207, who notes that both Semele and Danae werevisited by Zeus in the form of weather (lightning and rain). At Hdt.8,65, a cloud of dust is taken to be an epiphany of Iacchus (Petridou2006, 109-110). The association of Leucippe with lightning recalls theGreek poetic tradition (beginning with Alcman 1) of comparing women withastrological phenomena.

(87) cl*tophon's description is reminiscent of Sappho fr. 31(Voigt), a poem which cleverly plays with epiphanic language and theerotic experience; see further Nagy 1990, 7[section]2n3 and Nagy 2007,29. If Achilles Tatius were alluding to Sappho's poem, he wouldlikely have received it via Hellenistic incipit-lists of lyric poems (onwhich see further Yatromanolakis 1999), which in the case of Sappho fr.31 would have given the impression that the poem described an epiphanicsituation: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ... ("that man equal tothe gods appears to me ...").

(88) See further Morales 2004, 158-159 on Leucippe's visualpower over cl*tophon in this passage.

(89) The manuscripts at this point divide between [TEXT NOTREPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (WMD; 12th, 13th, 15th century, respectively) and[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (VGE; 13th, 15th, and 15th/16thcentury, respectively). I think that Selene, which was printed byVilborg 1955 and Garnaud 2002, is the better reading; see also Morales2004, 38-48 and Cueva 2006, who both argue for [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE INASCII]. The variant [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] would be anexplicit reference to the painting with which the novel began. It hassome attraction since the depiction of Selene riding on a bull is rare:I have found only one possible parallel in visual art, Roscher 1884-1937II,2 3140, fig. 11, which depicts a winged Selene on a bull; cf. Schwenin RE s.v. "Selene," col. 1138 and LJMC "Selene,Luna" no. 46. (A winged Selene may be attested by the epithet [TEXTNOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] at h.Hom. 32,1.) Despite the rarity ofdepictions of Selene on a bull, several other considerations suggestthat [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is the more likely reading. She isoften depicted riding other animals, such as rams, making the bull onlya moderate stretch. Further, as Vilborg 1962, 21-22 observes in histextual commentary on the passage, the use of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE INASCII] "would be inapt if the picture just described is meant (weshould expect [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] or the like)."Finally, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is the lectio difficilior. itis much easier to imagine how [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] couldhave been corrupted to [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (a scriberemembered the scene with which the novel began) than the other wayaround. Billault 2007, 349 raises the possibility that the two variantreadings may be the result of textual fluidity in antiquity and thatthey represent two different, ancient versions of the novel, but in thiscase, at least, a copying error seems more likely.

(90) In the Homeric Hymn to Helios, for instance, she is listedamong his "beautiful daughters" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE INASCII], h.Hym. 31,5-6).

(91) The identification of the two goddesses is attested as earlyas A. fr. 170 (Radt); see further Allan 2004, esp. 116 n. 17.

(92) Callirhoe is compared to Artemis in the epiphanic situation atthe opening of the novel: "When she appeared in public, amazementseized the whole crowd, just as when Artemis appears to hunters insolitude." ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Chariton 1,1,16).

(93) In addition, at several points in the novel paintings are usedas points of reference: at Ach. Tat. 3,25,6 the identity of the phoenixis verified by comparing it to a ?????, which could be either a text ora painting, and at 6,1,3, cl*tophon, dressed in woman's clothing,is likened to a [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] of Achilles on Scyros.See further Harlan 1965 and Garson 1978.

(94) Bowersock 1994, 99-119 notes the prevalence of the motif ofresurrection in both the novels and the broader context of Romanimperial writing. He does not go so far as to posit a direct linkbetween this passage (or any other) and the resurrection of JesusChrist, but he does suggest that "it would be wise ... to considerthe possibility that the Gospel stories themselves provided theimpetus" (119) for this aspect of imperial fiction.

(95) Ghosts sometimes retain the appearance of the deceased at themoment of death, especially when their death was particularly violent orgruesome. Thus Hector appears to Aeneas still dripping with gore (Verg.Aen. 2,270-279), as does the ghost of Tlepolemus at Apul. Met. 8,8; seefurther Felton 1999, 14-18.

(96) This scene seems to draw on the close associations of Egyptwith magic and the occult, which become particularly prominent from thefirst century CE and appear in descriptions of individuals such as thedoctor Thessalus, who narrates his travels to Egypt in search of magicalremedies (De virtutibus herbarum, on which see further Moyer 2011,208-273, 287-292), the magician Pancrates (Luc. Philops. 34-36), and thesorcerer Zatchlas (Apul. Met. 2,28-30). Heliodorus' Aethiopicatakes this association even further. Cnemon, a Greek, wonders: "Howit is only among the Egyptians that the dead come back to life?"([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]; Heliod. 5,2,4). Later in the novel,Charicleia and Calasiris witness the reanimation of a corpse justoutside the Egyptian city Bessa (Heliod. 6,14,2-7). As an Egyptianpriest, however, Calasiris is very careful throughout the Aethiopica todistinguish his Egyptian religion from baser forms of magic.

(97) Cf. Hagg 1971, 132.

(98) Cf. Morgan 2004a, 497. This is part of a larger narratologicalstrategy with regard to the divine, in which cl*tophon as narratorrarely ascribes events unambiguously to divine agency.

(99) See Morales 2004, 202-205 for a discussion of the ways inwhich the letter represents Leucippe and gives her a voice in thenarrative. In a sense, the letter becomes a proxy for her.

(100) For more on the role of ekphrastic description in the novel,see Morales 2004; Elsner 1995 and Elsner 2007 discuss ekphrasis morebroadly in the Roman imperial period.

(101) The power of the written word to stand as a substitute forthe female protagonist is not unique to Leucippe and cl*tophon. WhenDionysius receives Callirhoe's letter at the end of Chariton'snovel, he recognizes her handwriting and kisses the document (8,5,13).Although his reaction to her letter is not epiphanic, he does regardCallirhoe's writing as a substitute for her presence.

(102) Hagg 2002, esp. 59.

(103) Epiphanic scenes are not the only religious phenomena thatare re-appropriated by the novels as literary motifs. Whitmarsh 1999,for instance, offers a sophisticated interpretation of Heliodorus'metaphorical engagement with the narrative patterns of "anadolescent rite de passage" (19) in order to comment on culturalidentity in the Aethiopica.

(104) cl*tophon's description of a dream epiphany made byAphrodite illustrates the importance of "genuine" epiphaniesoccurring at a different time and/or place from the main narrative. WhenLeucippe reports that she had a dream vision of Artemis (Ach. Tat.4,1,4-5), she reminds cl*tophon that he had seen Aphrodite in a dream(Ach. Tat. 4,1,5-8). Both narrate their dreams from the comfort ofhindsight; on dreams in the novels, see further Carlisle 2009.

(105) E.g., when Dionysus appears to a shepherd at Ach. Tat.2,2,3-6.

(106) E.g., as Eros is said to do at Longus 2,4-6. Apart from theappearance of Pan and his aretai at Longus 2,25-27, the epiphany ofArtemis at Ach. Tat. 7,12,4 is the closest that a novel's narratorcomes to endorsing the occurrence of an epiphany in recent memory:"Artemis made an epiphany in the war against the Thracians, and theByzantines, since they won, thought it necessary to send a sacrifice toher as a victory offering for her support" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLEIN ASCII]). cl*tophon does not describe seeing the goddess in person,but only relates the Byzantines' report. Cf. Whitmarsh 2011,193-195, who emphasizes the novelists' preference for settingepiphany at one remove from their narratives

(107) Cf. Graf 2004, esp. 122 for a similar tendency in theepigraphic conventions of recording epiphanies; Graf argues that Greekswere more ready to record epiphanies that occurred at some distance(either temporal or spatial) from the site of the inscription. Harrison2000, 90-91 observes a similar phenomenon in Herodotus.

(108) Morgan 1982, 227-232 discusses the way authorial uncertaintycontributes to the "realism" of Heliodorus' narrative. Hecomments (231): "Uncertainty is characteristic of any writerwriting honestly about things that really happened; or, more importantlyfor our present purposes, of any writer who wishes to give theimpression that he is writing honestly about things that reallyhappened." Heliodorus, who is writing fiction, has no reason to beuncertain, but his expressions of uncertainty lend plausibility to whathe narrates. I suggest that the reluctance to narrate"genuine" epiphany is a related phenomenon.

(109) Merkelbach 1962, esp. 92 on Xenophon of Ephesus.

(110) This paper was first delivered at the Corhali Colloquium onepiphany at Princeton University; it was subsequently presented at theUniversity of Amsterdam; and it was read in written form by LaurenCurtis, Albert Henrichs, Christopher Jones, and the editor and refereesof Ancient Narrative. It is a distinct pleasure to thank each of theseaudiences for their astute suggestions and generous encouragement.

Robert L. Cioffi received his Ph.D. in Classical Philology fromHarvard University in 2013, and he is currently a Visiting AssistantProfessor of Classics at Bard College. His dissertation, ImaginaryLands: Ethnicity, Exoticism, and Narrative in the Ancient Novel,examines the meaning of travel in the novels and it rethinks therelationship between identity, narrative, and exoticism in the genre. Itargues that through their descriptions of wide-ranging travel and exoticlocales, the novels reflect a multiplicity of individual ways to beGreek and the many models against which an individual's Hellenicidentity can define itself.

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Seeing Gods: epiphany and narrative in the Greek novels. (2024)
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