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(lo͞o`shən), b. c.120, d. after 180, Greek writer, also called Lucianus, b. Samosata, Syria. In late life he held a government position in Egypt. Lucian wrote an easy, masterly Attic prose, which he turned to satirical use. His wit and characterizations give his satires a vigor and an interest that have made him highly admired and often imitated. The most important and characteristic are his dialogues (e.g., Dialogues of the Gods, Dialogues of the Dead, The Sale of Lives), which deal with ancient mythology (the Olympian fables, which he satirizes) and with contemporary philosophers (whose ineptitude he exposes). The True History, a fantastic tale parodying incredible adventure stories, influenced such later writers as Rabelais and Swift. Lucian also wrote poems and rhetorical, critical, and biographical works.


See C. R. Robinson, Lucian and His Influence in Europe (1979); C. P. Jones, Culture and Society in Lucian (1986).



Born circa A.D. 120 in Samosata, Syria; died after 180 in Egypt. Greek writer. Son of an artisan of modest means.

Lucian wrote his best works when he lived in Athens (c. 165-180). His primary genre was the satirical dialogue, a polemical parody of mythological subjects written in clear and witty language; the characters’ speech is peppered with jokes and proverbs. The influence of the democratic philosophy of the Cynics and similar ideas of the Stoics can be traced in Lucian’s most mature works (the Menippus dialogues—Menippus, Banquet, and Dialogues of the Gods). Lucian’s philosophy evolved into the materialism of Epicurus. The antireligiosity and sharp social criticism of his satires kept Lucian from enjoying the popularity he deserved in the ancient world. His works influenced the Byzantine satirists and writers of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. F. Engels called Lucian “the Voltaire of classical antiquity” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 22, page 469).


Luciani Samosatenis opera, vols. 1-4. Edited by C. Jacobitz. Hildesheim, 1966.
In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch., vols. 1-2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1935.
Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1962.
Izbr. ateisticheskie proizvedeniia. Moscow, 1955.


Istoriia grecheskoi literatury, vol. 3. Edited by S. I. Sobolevskii. Moscow,
1960. Pages 219-24.
Caster, M. Lucien et la pensee religieuse de son temps. Paris, 1937 Avenarius, G. Lukians Schrift zur Geschichtsschreibung. Meisenheim am
Glan, 1956. (Bibliography, pp. 179-83.)



2nd century ad, Greek writer, noted esp for his satirical Dialogues of the Gods and Dialogues of the Dead
References in periodicals archive ?
As well as there are various works on Plutarch, Diogenes Laertius, Tzetses, Pausanias, Strabo, Diodorus Siculus and Lucianus.
The second difference is in the washing motif, which is very strong in Lucianus and totally absent in Jeremiah, who does not allude to a way that the "Cushi" is to change his skin colour, since he recognises it as an empirical, unalterable fact .
2 presented a dwarfish simian king, an oversized transvestite queen, and a Lucianus who descended from above, delivered his poison, wooed the queen by opening his heart-shaped red codpiece so that a spring popped out, and sent the king back above.
Francisco, Lucianus, Captain Bill Bannon Barnardo, Fortinbras, Gravedigger #2 Braden Moran Horatio Timothy Edward Kane Marcellus, Gravedigger #1 Roderick Peeples Claudius, Ghost Bruce A.
17) In Lucianus the identities of Claudius the killer and Hamlet the avenger briefly merge, even as the avenger, unusually, gives fair warning.
102) Celerinus's letter from Rome to Lucianus, the imprisoned confessor in Carthage, on behalf of two lapsae mentions the fact that they had been atoning for their faults through penance and good works, which involved care for Carthaginian refugees in Rome.
During the staging of The Mousetrap, Hamlet urges the actor playing Lucianus to "leave [his] damnable faces and begin" (3.
37) Lucianus Samosatensis, Opera (Vera historia) (Vienna, Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Inc.
So too, "The Murder of Gonzago" rewrites the text of the Hamlet play and the Ghost's in a manner that pretends to speak with the audience, but in fact, in its deliberate conflation of the roles of brother and nephew, killer and revenger, in the figure of Lucianus, and in its incompleteness (it stops midway and we do not know how much of it, if any, was left to be performed), declines to do so.
Claudius does not respond to the dumb show, for whatever reason, but his reaction to The Murder of Gonzago is understandable if we recall, as Francis Fergusson has pointed out, that Hamlet identifies Lucianus not as brother but as nephew to the king.
Zenobius because the family held that it could trace its lineage back to the saint's father, Lucianus.