The book explores a relatively unfamiliar and under-appreciated area of Greek literature, imaginary letters written between about 100 BC and 500 AD. They are imaginary or fictional either because both writer and recipient are invented, or because they are attributed to real historical characters. In the latter group, the real authors are unknown, whereas we know at least the names of those in the first group. Letter writing, real and fictional, was an important activity in this period, which was also the time that the sophists or professional rhetoricians were very influential in the political and educational life particularly of the Greek east. Many of our authors clearly were sophists practising their skills, especially in character portrayal. This selection opens a window on an attractive, lively, and often amusing area in the history of Greek prose. All the letters are translated, and the commentaries provide both grammatical help and background information.
This book is a must for any library with a Greek section and for any Greek student or scholar who likes letters. The Journal of Classics Teaching The letters are very well translated with a nice compromise between literal accuracy and an appropriately chatty style, and the commentary is helpful and economical ... an excellent introduction to one of the attractive by-ways of Greek literature from the hand of a fine scholar. The Journal of Classics Teaching ... this volume should bring some wonderfully entertaining texts to a wider audience of students. Hermathena: A Trinity College Dublin Review This timely collection of texts is pitched at undergraduate level, with sensible and solid discussions of linguistic difficulties. Whether the letters will ever become curricular standards is questionable, but those students fortunate enough to be exposed to these scintillating texts will find Costa's a safe enough pair of hands. Hermathena: A Trinity College Dublin Review While certainly not great literature, they provide some insight into social conventions of the time, amuse, and, in the case of the philosophical letters, provide some parallels to NT letters. In a sense they aid students to recognize that the Greek world had its lowbrow side as well as magnificent literature and thinkers. It will serve as a useful teaching tool for classicists and NT scholars to make alive the world of the Early Roman Empire. Religious Studies Review Editions of individual letter writers are scattered and often out of print, which makes this collection of Greek texts with good translations useful and welcome. Religious Studies Review
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 216
Published: 10th January 2002
Dimensions (cm): 16.459 x 20.98 x 1.549
Weight (kg): 0.271