Achilles Tatius

Achilles Tatius (Greek: Ἀχιλλεὺς Τάτιος, Achilleus Tatios) of Alexandria was a Roman-era Greek writer of the 2nd century whose fame is attached to his only surviving work, the ancient Greek novel, or romance, The Adventures of Leucippe and Clitophon.

Life and minor worksEdit

Eustathius of Thessalonica (in his commentary on Homer's Odyssey 14.350), the Suda, Photius, in his Bibliotheca (cod. 87), and the manuscript tradition all affirm he lived and wrote in Alexandria. The papyrus,[1] and linguistic[2] evidence demonstrate he flourished early in the 2nd century AD. Suda preserves a tradition that "He became at last a Christian and a bishop." There are literary parallels[3] between Leucippe and Clitophon and the Christian Acts of Andrew, a roughly contemporary composition.[4]

The Suda also ascribes to the author a work on the sphere (in Greek περὶ σφαίρας), a fragment of which, professing to be an introduction to the Phaenomena of Aratus, may still be extant (in Greek Eἰσαγωγὴ εἰς τὰ Ἀράτoυ φαινόμενα). This, however, may be the work of another Achilles Tatius, who lived in the 3rd century.[5] This work is referred to by Firmicus Maternus, who about 336 speaks of the prudentissimus Achilles in his Matheseos libri (Math. iv. 10). The fragment was first published in 1567, then in the Uranologion of the Jesuit scholar Denis Pétau, with a Latin translation in 1630.[6] The same source also mentions a work of Achilles Tatius on etymology, and another entitled Miscellaneous Histories.


  1. ^ The "early dating of P.Oxy 3836 holds, Achilles Tatius' novel must have been written 'nearer 120 than 150'" Albert Henrichs, Culture In Pieces: Essays on Ancient Texts in Honour of Peter Parsons, eds. Dirk Obbink, Richard Rutherford, Oxford University Press, 2011, p. 309, n. 29 ISBN 0199292019, 9780199292011
  2. ^ "the use (albeit mid and erratic) of the Attic dialect suggest a date a little earlier [than mid-2nd century] in the same century." The Greek Novel: Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guide Oxford University Press, 2010, p. 7 ISBN 019980303X, 9780199803033
  3. ^ e.g., "We are referring to AA's almost literal echo of Achilles Tatius' Leucippe and Cleitophon (5.27.1) in Vr 55-56" L. R. LANZILLOTTA "The Acts of Andrew. A New Perspective on the Primitive Text" Cuadernos de Filologia Clásica. Estudios griegos e indoeuropeos, v. 20, 2010, p.257
  4. ^ A. Piñero & G. del Cerro claim that Acts might in fact be the oldest of the major Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, based on AA's thought and views, with additional support from the fact that AA has not been influenced by the Acts of Peter. See Piñero, A. and del Cerro, G. (2004), Hechos apócrifos de los Apóstoles. I: Hechos de Andrés, Juan y Pedro. Madrid: 107-235. Prieur stated that "The distinctive christology of the text", its silence concerning Jesus as a genuinely historical figure, and its lack of mention of church organisation, liturgy, and ecclesiastical rites, lead one to "militate for an early dating" (Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol. 1, p. 246)
  5. ^ Hornblower, Simon, ed. (1996), "Achilles Tatius (2)", Oxford Classical Dictionary, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  6. ^   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Achilles Tatius". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 144.


  • James N. O'Sullivan, A Lexicon to Achilles Tatius, Berlin-New York (De Gruyter) 1980
  • Del Corno, Dario; Letteratura greca (1988)

External linksEdit