had a huge impact on the emergence of the modern novel and was extolled by such critics as Scaliger; (12) nowadays, however, his novel is studied mostly by a small, if devoted, group of experts.
67) Apart from Charicleia and the giraffe, Heliodorus
describes in detail how the Nile is revealed to be a hybrid entity at Meroe, the fusion of the Astaborrhas and the Asasobas (10,5,1).
The point is mostly that Cervantes really undertook what he announced: a book that would be an epic in prose, thus "competing" with Heliodorus
, and that he succeeded in this task, putting to rest Cervantes' own misgivings about his impossible enterprise, as stated in--for instance his prologue to the Novelas ejemplares.
The Greek Romances by Heliodorus
, Achilles Tatius and others, also share similar plot trajectories, and, in the Renaissance, the plot type was exceedingly popular including Shakespeare's Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest.
For the "lector discreto," though, who was familiar with Heliodorus
and the role his text played in the literary theory of the day, Cervantes's gentle parody of some of its features must have been an intentional and somewhat rarefied source of humor.
The Persian Empire is the central authority against whom they fight in Heliodorus
, and their occasional success against the Persians, who are destined to be thrown out of Egypt by the Greeks, creates a vague political alignment between Greeks and Egyptians, and later between Greeks and Ethiopians as well.
The ancient romances in particular, especially Apuleius and Heliodorus
, also provided him with unusual and powerful female characters.
The order of the king was sent to Heliodorus
, who was probably the same person mentioned in the book of II Maccabees.
We find the topos of the physician taking a woman's pulse to discover that she is lovesick also in Aethiopica, a novel by Heliodorus
In fact the complex has a set of ancient monuments including votive pillars with palm-leaf capitals of which the Heliodorus
pillar is the only one that is intact.
In the novels of Chariton and Heliodorus
, on the other hand, the conflict can remain active throughout, since Callirhoe's marital status remains technically undetermined until the novel's close, and Chariclea does not officially wed until the close of the Aethiopica.
My opinion is that the reverse may be true as well: the Greek novels could easily have included Christians among their readers--and perhaps even among their authors: even if the Suda account concerning Achilles Tatius's Christian faith and episcopal dignity is unreliable (but it should not be dismissed easily without serious thought), the more reliable source which handed down the information that Heliodorus
the novelist later became the bishop of Tricca in Thessaly and introduced there the custom of ecclesiastical celibacy is worthy at least of serious consideration, as I argue in 'Les vertus de la chastete et de la piete dans les Romans grecs et les vertus des chretiens,' in B.