Chaereas and Callirhoe is the first European novel. Well, if we wish to be technical it is really a romance. It is our oldest example of a Greek. Tyche in Chariton’s Chaereas and Callirhoe and in the Byzantine Romance of Kallimachos and Chrysorroi. In this brief study, I discuss the role of the divine. PLUTARCH’S ARIADNE IN CHARITON’S. CHAEREASAND CALLIRHOE. Chaereas and Callirhoe is the earliest extant Greek novel, and only one of its genre to.

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Van Steen Gonda A. In this brief study, I discuss the role of the divine power Tyche, Chance or Fortune, in the Hellenistic novel of Chaereas and Callirhoe, written by Chariton of Aphrodisias1, and the borrowed Tyche of the fourteenth-century revival romance of Kallimachos and Chrysorroi1. Most problematic is their acceptance of the genre’s inherited conventions pertaining to Tyche’ s intervention, and to non-human guidance and supernatural revelation in general.

Her analysis, chaereaas, does not account for the fourteenth- century xhaereas of Kallimachos and Chrysorroi.

Therefore, this study intends to examine the late Byzantine novel also in light of her thesis and conclusions. By Chariton’s lifetime, writers of Hellenistic history and Stoic philosophers had popularized the notions of Tyche FortuneHeimarmene FateAnanke Necessityand Pronoia Providencethe semantic contents of which had started to overlap.

In Hellenistic Greek romances, Tyche’ s unpredictability is intended and causes the most incredible adventures to take place.

Her incalculable machinations motivate twists in narrative sequences lacking proper causality callirhie logical consistency. Tyche’ s interventions, occasionally enhanced by more realistic-looking details, serve to produce at least verisimilitude, or the maximum appearance of reality.

Anf for the whims of an outrageous Tyche, whether a compositional device of the romance plot or its prime mover, becomes no longer necessary or even possible. Not until the very last caprices of Fortune have been revealed, can the romantic hero hope to grasp her larger, hitherto mysterious plan, and can the reader comprehend Tyche’ s role within the given story. The novelist’s repeated yet conventional acknowledgements, however, of Fortune’s deliberate scheming as a motivating force create a certain disbelief between himself and the reader, since the credibility of his Tyche- driven narrative always remains subjected to audience participation in the wildly imaginative scenario.

In the generic profile of the Hellenistic Greek romance, the handsome young lovers, once separated, remain invincibly hopeful of reunion someday in the unknown yet callirgoe adventurous future6. They are prompted to sustain this optimistic belief by patron-deities, such as Aphrodite, Isis, Apollo, or Dionysus.

Chariton – Wikipedia

Yet those inscrutable divinities often seem to be working against the couple clalirhoe cooperation with the untrustworthy, malevolent Tyche7. She may transform kings into slaves, turn riches to poverty, and vice versa. The dramatic and paradoxical ordeals she operates, however, ultimately coincide for the heroes’ permanent state of happiness.

Tyche dominates the action of Chariton’s Chaereas and Callirhoe in complex ways. She figures as the doublet of Eros and agent of Aphrodite who herself, at the novel’s very beginning, causes the couple to fall in love instantly be it ek tyches I, 1, 6. Chariton explicitly compares the action of his romance to a tragic play, and he. Chafreas victim of Tyche, the jealous Chaereas is driven to murder anc wife, and at least until book III to remain ignorant of the fact that she has survived his blow.

Despite the wealth of logical and psychological detail through which Chariton constructs the illusion of reality, Callirhoe also accuses the capricious chaerreas Tyche of having caused her virtual death I, 14, 7: You are pursuing me on land and sea.

You have not had your fill of my misfortunes. First you made my lover my murderer Only in the prologue to the last book does the reader learn that Chaereas has been suffering as a result of Aphrodite’s punishment for his wrongful behavior towards his wife VIII, 1, 3: Although Aphrodite’s influence overrides that of Tyche, the only further actions explicitly ascribed to her are Callirhoe’ s two marriages II, 2, 8; V, 1, chaerras, referring to I, 1,3 concerning Callirhe.

Most crucial incidents of Chariton’ s romance are explained as operations of Tyche, with her taste for change and paradox: Tyche has a hand also in the discovery by Dionysius’ men of the letters from Chaereas and Mithridates to Callirhoe IV, anx, 3. At the Milesian court, Callirhoe discovers that she is two months pregnant by her husband, an unwelcome condition which she decries as yet another stratagem of Tyche II, 8, 6.


Tyche then abuses Callirhoe’ s state as a means to overcome her fidelity to Xnd II, 8, 4: Thinking herself separated for ever from Chaereas, the young woman reluctantly decides to marry Dionysius for the sake of her unborn child.

Through paradoxical turns of events at the narrative’s most pivotal moments, Fortune sets up the series of Chaereas’ travel adventures that constitute the very action of the ancient romance.

By far the most extraordinary ordeal is the hero’s discovery of the pirate Theron, who robbed Callirhoe’ s callithoe, sold the live heroine to Dionysius, and is now forced to confess. A passive resignation to fate, relinquishing all control, is therefore recommended.

Chaereas and Callirhoe by Chariton (trans. B. P. Reardon) | The Consolation of Reading

Not uncommonly, however, the humble submission to Fortune, rather than failing resistance against it, leads to suicidal thoughts on behalf of the novel’s desperate characters. Yet these suicide attempts are essentially gambles with life, provocations of chance, upon which the always surviving heroes find themselves strengthened to continue on one of Tyche’ s hidden paths9. Chariton depicts Tyche as a negative yet dynamic principle: The author conventionally allows Tyche to manipulate the narrative development by constantly provoking new and hazardous episodes.

Transformed into a valiant soldier and admiral, Chaereas defeats Artaxerxes and finally recovers his beloved by force. Thereupon both partners return to Syracuse where, as romantic convention wants it, they live happily ever after. Chariton’s characters also constantly invoke Tyche, and their complaints serve to recapitulate both the order and the accumulative burden of the mishaps she has contrived Despite all tribulations which Fortune inflicts upon the romantic heroes, she always intervenes when death is about to snatch one of them away.

In fact, while Fortune in its broadest sense may continue to show itself adverse, the hero’s personal destiny may find fulfilment in a tentatively or ultimately successful outcome of events.


Strictly spoken, the word can then be used in the plural as well as in the singular, though Chariton prefers the singular accompanied by the definite article. In the broader sense of the deified Fortune, however, Chariton’s Tyche is conventionally depicted as a powerful female demon or malignant goddess, subordinate of Aphrodite in the novel’s divine hierarchy. Chariton describes Tyche’ s characteristics in stereotypical terms: Philokainos as she is, she loves those novelties that impose evil results onto vulnerable mortals IV, 4, 2; also VI, 8, 1.

The commonplace of her wrathful attitude figures most prominently in the plaintive invectives of the ancient romance. Tyche’ s unpredictable machination evades all human calculation: Only once does Chariton express the need for human deliberation IV, 4, 2: On all other occasions, the impossibility of reducing her domineering influence over mortal destiny is a given.

Arbitrary, unexpected action is the distinguishing mark of Chariton’ s ruling fate, operating mostly for the worse, though sometimes for the better III, 3, 8; IV, 5, 3.

Military metaphors are not uncommon to describe Tyche’ s cruelty when waging her hostile war against people e.

At the beginning of Chariton’ s last book, Tyche, eager to keep Chaereas and Callirhoe separated much longer, is finally overruled by Aphrodite, the presiding goddess who herself knows how to relent:. Chaereas was to have Callirhoe in his possession and fail to recognize her; while taking others’ wives on board ad ships to carry them off, he was to leave his own behind But Aphrodite thought this too harsh; she was growing less angry with him.

At first she had been incensed by his misplaced jealousy; she had given him the fairest of gifts. While Tyche contrived unavoidable hardship and long-lasting separation for the lovers, Aphrodite’s motivation and mysterious plan remained concealed until this very moment.

The goddess of love wanted to teach Chaereas a lesson for his ingratitude and for his jealousy of Callirhoe. His and his bride’s redeeming virtue, however, was loyalty to love, which made the ultimate happy-end possible.

Aphrodite’s underlings, Eros and Tyche, did the nasty work for her. But whereas Eros figured as his mother’s conventional accomplice, Clalirhoe proved to be the more complex czllirhoe for divine machinery. Tyche chaersas as a powerful personified figure and narrative engine in the Byzantine romance of Kallimachos and Chrysorroi.


This verse romance with fairy-tale qualities was probably written by Andronikos Komninos Vranas Doukas Angelos Palaeologos, the nephew of the first emperor of the Palaeologan dynasty, Michael VIH, between the years and The adventures of the heroes of this late Byzantine novel, set in an unspecified pre-Christian world, are in no substantial way.

Chariton’s Chaereas and Callirhoe

The whims of Tyche still dominate the sequence of cause and effect of Kallimachos and Chrysorroi, influenced by the ancient prototype of Chariton’s Chaereas and Callirhoe. The Byzantine author even marked this influence by his wordplay on the heroes’ names: To introduce various dimensions of Tyche, Andronikos uses conventional imagery and topoi more frequently than Chariton. Common are the images of the turning Wheel of Fortune implying constantly altering chance events for victims hoisted up to the top or hurled down in an abyss of ill luck; e.

In general, the Byzantine romancer still reserves for the workings of Tyche areas beyond human control and rational analysis. Fortune elevates people only to destroy them. She rules events with causes difficult to detect or unamenable to reason e. The burdened romantic heroes again repeatedly blame Tyche’ s stubborn malevolence. In linesfor instance, Chrysorroi relates to her saviour Kallimachos the sufferings inflicted by the dragon or ogrethough unmistakably contrived by Tyche.

Suggesting an immediate connection between those two evil forces, she claims: Following Kallimachos’ imprisonment at the palace of her abductor, Chrysorroi reproaches her adverse Tyche once more I imagined that I had escaped your foul decrees, your misfortune and your cruelty.

A true romantic heroine, Chrysorroi even wishes that Tyche had imposed upon her the mishaps she made Kallimachos endure Kallimachos in turn holds Tyche responsible for his humiliating position of assistant gardener and water-bearer at the court of the foreign king who carried off his beloved.

His entire moirologin is more than a stereotyped lament imploring Tyche to lift her wrath from him. Especially its second part, directed to the moon as the trusted mediator between lovers, is a song of erotic nature inserted at an important narrative juncture, at a turning-point to a happier state for the afflicted hero Kallimachos begs the moon to forward his message of love to Chrysorroi.

Once reunited with her, he rejoices in song and praise of Fortune Chariton, however, composed a crude hierarchy of deities interfering with his couple’s life, at the summit of which sat enthroned Aphrodite. This pagan goddess of love now functions as a mythical standard of comparison and frame of reference for the beauty of the Byzantine heroine esp. Given the pivotal narrative force of Chrysorroi’s Aphrodite-like appeal, the Byzantine romancer has not significantly reduced the love deity’s motivating power, yet he did not allow it either to erode Christian monotheism.

The pagan Eros, however, poses a more formidable challenge to the Orthodox world- view: Andronikos has magnified Aphrodite’s enfant terrible to become the superior basileus under whose authority the novel’s entire action resides ; ; ; In general, Andronikos’ Tyche is perhaps less active on a grand scale, though this reduction does not necessarily signal the author’s respect for Christian mono- theist dogma.

It is more likely the result of the key role of Eros-basileus and of Aphrodite-inspired sex-appeal. Tyche’ s function is often confined to the level of the hero’s personal destiny. Chrysorroi’s individual Fortune has intervened, she assumes, to bring about the lovers’ first meeting described in lines In alsoshe voices the cynical suspicion that her Tyche has sent Kallimachos to kill her and thus to end her sufferings: After the witch’s golden apple has afflicted Kallimachos with virtual death, his individualized Tyche exerts herself to find his brothers and to inform them of his condition.

Dressed as a lady in black, she appears to the brothers in a dream and urges them to go and rescue Kallimachos This single positive initiative, however, is.

Andronikos describes the personalized Tyche of his protagonists in terms reminiscent of the ancient Greek individual daimones The topos of the ego’s fate growing up together