Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lucian: The ancient Greek Steven Spielberg

A Syrian-Greek writer responsible for the first fictional accounts of extraterrestrial life. Lucian, whose parents had hoped he might become a sculptor, made a fortune by traveling around Asia Minor, Greece, Italy and other lands giving entertaining speeches, before settling down in Athens to study philosophy.

This was a time – the second century AD – when faith in the old gods had all but evaporated, Greek culture and thought was in decay, and the great literature of Greece at its height had given way to shallow novels of adventure or romance. All this was grist to Lucian's satirical mill and in his two extraterrestrial stories – precursors of science fiction – he parodies the kind of feeble fantasy that had become popular.

By Spiros Theocharis

More at General and Hellenic History Subjects

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