Σάββατο, 15 Αυγούστου 2015

Lucian of Samosata - The first ancient writer of Science Fiction novells

Lucian of Samosata ( Λουκιανος οὁ Σαμοσατεύς c. AD 125 – after AD 180) was a rhetorician  and satirist who wrote in the Greek language. He is noted for his witty and scoffing nature. Although he wrote solely in Greek, mainly Attic Greek, he was ethnicallyAssyrian. Lucian claimed to be a native speaker of a "barbarian tongue" (Double Indictment, 27) which was most likely Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic. Few details of Lucian's life can be verified with any degree of accuracy. He claimed to have been born in Samosata, in the former kingdom of Commagene, which had been absorbed by theRoman Empire and made part of the province of Syria. In his works, Lucian refers to himself as an "Assyrian", and "barbarian", perhaps indicating "he was from the Semitic and not the imported Greek population" of Samosata. There are more than eighty surviving works attributed to him – declamations, essays both laudatory and sarcastic, satiric epigrams, and comic dialogues and symposia with a satirical cast, studded with quotations in alarming contexts and allusions set in an unusual light, designed to be surprising and provocative. His name added lustre to any entertaining and sarcastic essay: more than 150 survivingmanuscripts attest to his continued popularity. The first printed edition of a selection of his works was issued at Florence in 1499. His best known works are A True Story (a romance, patently not "true" at all, which he admits in his introduction to the story), and Dialogues of the Gods (Θεῶν διάλογοι) and Dialogues of the Dead (Νεκρικοὶ Διάλογοι). Lucian was trained as a rhetorician, a vocation where one pleads in court, composing pleas for others, and teaching the art of pleading. Lucian's practice was to travel about, giving amusing discourses and witty lectures improvised on the spot, somewhat as a rhapsode had done in declaiming poetry at an earlier period. In this way Lucian travelled through Ionia and mainland Greece, to Italy and even to Gaul, and won much wealth and fame. There are 70 surviving works attributed to Lucian. He wrote in a variety of styles which included comic dialogues, rhetorical essays and prose fiction.
Lucian was also one of the earliest novelists in Western civilization. In A True Story, a fictional narrative work written in prose, he parodies some of the fantastic tales told by Homer in the Odyssey and also the not so fantastic tales from the historian Thucydides. He anticipated "modern" fictional themes like voyages to the moon and Venus, extraterrestrial life and wars between planets, nearly two millennia before Jules Verne and H. G. Wells. His novel is widely regarded as an early, if not the earliest science fiction work. Lucian also wrote a satire called The Passing of Peregrinus, in which the lead character,Peregrinus Proteus, takes advantage of the generosity of Christians. This is one of the earliest surviving pagan perceptions of Christianity. His Philopseudes (Φιλοψευδες ἤ απιστον, "Lover of Lies or Cheater") is a frame story which includes the original version of The Sorcerer's Apprentice. In his Symposium (Συμπόσιον), far from  Plato's discourse, the diners get drunk, tell smutty tales and behave badly. The  Macrobii  (Μακρόβιοι, "long-livers"), which is devoted to longevity, has been attributed to Lucian, although it is generally agreed that he was not the author. It gives some mythical examples like that of Nestor who lived three generations or Tiresias, the blind seer of Thebes, who lived six generations. It tells about the Seres (Chinese) "who are said to live 300 years" or the people of Athos, "who are also said to live 130 years". Most of the examples of "real" men lived between 80 and 100 years, but ten cases of alleged centenarians are given. It also gives some advice concerning food intake and moderation in general. Lucian's  Kataplous  or Downward Journey was deathbed-reading for David Hume and the source of Nietzsche's  Übermensch or  Overman. There is debate over the authorship of some works transmitted under Lucian's name, such as De Dea Syria ("On the Syrian goddess"), the Amores and the Ass. These are usually not considered genuine works of Lucian and normally cited under the name of Pseudo-Lucian. The Ass(Λούκιος ἢ ῎Oνος) is probably a summarized version of a story by Lucian and contains largely the same basic plot elements as The Golden Ass (or Metamorphoses) of Apuleius, but with fewer inset tales and a different ending. True Stories or True Fictions (Ἀαληθη διηγήματα) is a parody of travel tales, by the Greek-speaking Syrian author Lucian of Samosata, the earliest known fiction about travelling to outer spacealien life-forms and interplanetary warfare. Written in the 2nd century, the novel has been referred to as "the first known text that could be called science fiction". The work was intended by Lucian as a satire against contemporary and ancient sources, which quote fantastic and mythical events as truth. Lucian's True Stories eludes a clear-cut literary classification. Its multilayered character has given rise to interpretations as diverse as science fiction,  fantasysatire or parody, depending on how much importance scholars attach to Lucian's explicit intention of telling a story of falsehoods. In True Stories, Lucian and a company of adventuring heroes sail westward through the Pillars of Hercules (the Strait of Gibraltar) in order to explore lands and inhabitants beyond the Ocean, are blown off course by a strong wind, and after 79 days come to an island. This island is home to a river of wine filled with fish and bears, a marker indicating that Heracles and Dionysus have traveled to this point, along with normal footprints and giant footprints. Shortly after leaving the island, they are lifted up by a whirlwind and after seven days deposited on the Moon. There they find themselves embroiled in a full-scale war between the king of the Moon and the king of the Sun over colonisation of the Morning Star, involving armies including such exotica as stalk-and-mushroom men, acorn-dogs ("dog-faced men fighting on winged acorns"), and cloud-centaurs. Unusually, the Sun, Moon, stars and planets are portrayed as locales, each with its unique geographic details and inhabitants. The war is finally won by the Sun's armies clouding the Moon over. Details of the Moon follow; there are no women, and children grow inside the calf of men. After returning to Earth, the adventurers become trapped in a giant whale; inside the 200-mile-long animal, there live many groups of people whom they rout in war. They also reach a sea of milk, an island of cheese and the isle of the blessed. There Lucian meets the heroes of the Trojan War, other mythical men and animals, and even Homer. They find Herodotus being eternally punished for the "lies" he published in his Histories. After leaving the Island of the Blessed, they deliver a letter to Calypso given to them by Odysseusexplaining that he wishes he had stayed with her so he could have lived eternally. They then discover a chasm in the Ocean, but eventually sail around it, discover a far-off continent and decide to explore it. The book ends rather abruptly with Lucian saying that their adventure there will be the subject of following books.
Πηγη: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucian

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