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THE DREAM, OR LUCIAN'S CAREER
The Dream contains no hint that a lecture is to follow it, but its brevity, its structure—a parable followed by its application—and the intimacy of its tone show that it is an introduction similar to Dionysus and Amber, Read certainly in Syria, and almost certainly in Luoian's native city of Samosata, it would seem to have been composed on his first return to Syria, after the visit to Gaul that made him rich and famous ; probably not long after it, for his return home ia quite likely to have come soon after his departure from Gaul. It reads, too, as if it were written in the first flush of success, before his fortieth year.
Since it gives us a glimpse of his early history, and professes to tell us how he chose his career, it makes a good introduction to his works. For that reason it was put first in the early editions, and has found a place in a great many school readers, so that none of his writings is better known.
The amount of autobiography in it is not great. Lucian names no names, which might have given us valuable information as to his race, and he says nothing about his father except that he was not well off in the world. That his mother's father and brothers were sculptors, that he evinced his inheritance of the gift by his cleverness in modelling, and that he was therefore apprenticed to his uncle to learn the trade—all this is inherently probable, and interesting because it accounts for the seeing eye that made his pen-pictures so realistic. As to the dream, and his deliberate choice of a literary career on account of it, that is surely fiction. From what he does not say here, from what Oratory lets drop in the Double Indictment—that she found him wandering up and down Ionia, all but wearing native garb— we may guess that distaste for the sculptor's trade led him to run away from home without any very definite notion where he was going or what he should do, and that the dream, plainly inspired less by a thrashing than by the famous allegory of the sophist Prodicus, Heracles at the Crvssways (Xenophon, Memorabilia 2, 1, 21), came to him in later years, while he meditated what he should say to those at home upon his return to them.