The Ancient Library
 
This book contains Greek and English on facing pages.

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THE WORKS OF LUCIAN

THE DEAD COME TO LIFE, OR THE FISHERMAN

This is Lucian's reply to the storm of angry protest which he had evoked from the schoolmen with his Philosophies fen-Sale (II. 450 ff.), wherein, to their mind, he had unwarrant­ably and outrageously ridiculed the ancient philosophers and their doctrines.

The scene is in Athena. The dead who have come to life are the ancient philosophers, bent upon wreaking vengeance on Frankness, which is Lucian's alias here.

Eventually conceded a formal trial before Philosophy, he is acquitted on the plea that hia ridicule had not been aimed at the ancient worthies but at their unworthy successors of his own time. As these impostors cannot be induced to stand trial, Frankness is empowered to go about and brand them, so that people can tell them from the genuine philoso­phers. Before departing on his mission, he fishes up, with a bait of fig3 and gold, typical representatives of the chief schools for the inspection of their founders.

Lucian's plea is specious, for in Philosophies for Kale he had certainly shown scant regard for those whom he now professes to hold in such high esteem. But it is not meant to be taken seriously ; it is put forward with a wink at the audience for the sake of turning the tables on his critics. His new-found deference, moreover, is well seasoned with irony, and quite offset by the pose of urbane and patronizing superiority which he assumes in feigned unconsciousness. The piece is almost all persiflage, and maddeningly un­answerable for that reason.

The dialogue is strikingly like an Aristophanic comedy in its construction, especially in the fact that it has a clearly marked second part, somewhat loosely attached to the first, which develops a series of incidents after the plot has been worked out. Because of this similarity, and for many other reasons too, none of Lucian's writings better serves to intro­duce and illustrate the Double Indictment, which follows it.

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