The Dating of the Greek Novels
The probable dates of the main Greek novels are: Chariton: ?mid- first century; Xenophon, Antonius Diogenes: ?mid- second century; Achilles Tatius : mid (cf. Willis 1990: 76) to late second century; Iamblichus: about 170; Longus: ?200-250; Heliodorus: third century (see below). See Reardon 1971: 333 ff., id. 1989: 5; Bowie 1985a: 684, id. 1994: 443.
Chariton (for whom papyrological evidence provides a terminus ante quem of the second century) has sometimes been placed as early as the first century BC, but most modern scholars put him in the middle or latter part of the first century AD on grounds of language and style. See Perry 1967: 343-4 n. 1; Ruiz Montero 1980; Baslez 1992; Jones 1992a (making him as late as Hadrian). Plot and literary history: Perry 1967: 96-148; Reardon 1971: 340-53, id. 1982; Müller 1976; Hägg 1987: 194-8. Language: Giangrande 1974, protesting at Papanikolaou's late Hellenistic dating; Ruiz Montero 1991, comparing his vocabulary with a partial atticist like Plutarch.
Heliodorus' novel has often been dated after 351 from a comparison of his siege of Syene ( Ethiopian Story ix. 3-11) with the account of the real siege of Nisibis described by Julian in Orr. i. 27b-28d, 30a, and ii. 62b- 66d. In fact Julian's account in comparison with other sources emerges as pretty fictional itself, and because it is precisely in its fictional details that it resembles Heliodorus, it is very likely that Julian imitated the writer of the novel (or a common source) rather than the other way round: see Lightfoot 1988: 115-19 with literature (to which add Bowersock 1994: 149-60, triumphant but unconvincing on the later dating, especially regarding the allegorical allusions to the siege in Ephrem). There is, then, no overriding reason against putting Heliodorus in the period of the second sophistic; the third century allows for his narrative's sophistication and advances over the other novelists (see e.g. Winkler 1982; Morgan 1989; Fusillo 1991: 147-65) as well as the 'late' elements that have been observed in his language, and ties him to the heyday of the priestly caste at Emesa to which he belonged ( Ethiopian Story x. 41. 4; cf. Thirteenth Sibylline Oracle150-4; Bowie 1985a: 696; Emesa went into decline after the 270s when the trade that came to it through Palmyra ceased following Palmyra's rebellion: Seyrig 1959). Since the founding families of Emesa were Arab chieftains (they were at any rate labelled as such in Graeco-Roman writers),