EVENT: ‘Between East and West: the case of Dionysius’ “hybridity” in Chariton’s novel Callirhoe’ (Dr Mai Musié, University of Oxford)

This paper will focus on Dionysius, the aristocrat of Miletus who has come to serve the Persian Great King. Dionysius is associated with Greek paideia, but as a Milesian and Ionian occupies a position of cultural fluidity between Greek West and Persian East. His access to more than one cultural identity means his identity can be interpreted as ‘hybrid’. This ambiguity is underscored when he is considered through the eyes of the Persian characters where the dynamic is more suggestive of Dionysius as a slave. Miletus represents a geographical in-between space, neither ‘West’ nor ‘East’. As a ‘character’ he is caught between two worlds, the ‘real’ and ‘idealised’ – the world of the fifth century BCE, the golden age of the Greeks, and the contemporary world of the first and second century CE, controlled by the Roman Empire. In the characterisation of Dionysius we see the interdependence and interaction between the colonizer and the colonised and the author’s overall attempt to paint a realistic world for his readers, at the same time recreating and reimagining the Greek past. How Dionysius negotiates his own ‘hybrid’ identity under the Persian Empire and how this might speak to contemporary readers will be the topic of this paper.

Event Details

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