Lucian of Samosata


Lucian (lōō´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).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Lucian of Samosata: Selected full-text books and articles

Lucian, Satirist and Artist By Francis G. Allinson Marshall Jones, 1926
FREE! The Works of Lucian of Samosata: Complete with Exceptions Specified in the Preface By Lucian; F. G. Fowler; H. W. Fowler Clarendon Press, vol.1, 1905
Selected Satires of Lucian By Lionel Casson; Lionel Casson Anchor Books, 1962
Lucian, Plato and Greek Morals By John Jay Chapman Houghton Mifflin Company, 1931
True History, and Lucius, or the Ass By Lucian; Paul Turner Indiana University Press, 1958
Satirical Sketches By Lucian; Paul Turner Indiana University Press, 1990
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