) of Aphrodisias, a town of Caria, is the name by which one of the Greek erotic prose writers calls himself; but the name is probably feigned (from χάρις
), as the time and position of the author certainly are.
He represents himself as the secretary (ὑπογραφεύς
) of the orator Athenagoras, evidently referring to the Syracusan orator mentioned by Thucydides (6.35
) as the political opponent of Hermocrates.
The daughter of Hermocrates is the heroine of Chariton's work, which is a romance, in eight books, on the Loves of Chaereas and Callirrhoe, under the following title, Χαρίτωνος Ἀφροδισίεως τῶν περὶ Χαιρέαν καὶ Καλλιρροὴν ἐρωτικῶν διηγημάτων λόγοι ή
The work begins with the marriage of the heroine, which is presently followed by her burial.
She comes to life again in the tomb, and is carried off by robbers.
After various adventures, she is restored to Chaereas.
The incidents are natural and pleasing, and the style sinple ; but the work as a whole is reckoned inferior to those of Achilles Tatius. Heliodorus, Longus, and Xenophon of Ephesus. Nothing is known respecting the real life or the time of the author.
The critics place him variously between the fifth and ninth centuries after Christ.
The general opinion is, that he was the latest of the erotic prose writers, except perhaps Xenophon of Ephesus.
There is only one known MS. of the work, from which it was printed by James Philip D'Orville, with a Latin version and notes by Reiske, in 3 vols. 4to. Amst. 1750. The commentary of D'Orville is esteemed one of the best on any ancient author. It was reprinted, with additional notes by Beck, 1 vol. 8vo. Lips. 1783. A very beautiful edition of the text was printed at Venice, 1812, 4to.
The book has been translated into German by Heyne, Leipz. 1753
, and Schneider, Leipz. 1807
Into French by Larcher, Par. 1763 (reprinted in the Bibliothèque des Romans Grecs, Par. 1797)
, and Fallet, 1775 and 1784
Into Italian by M. A. Giacomelli, Rom. 1752, and others.
Into English by Becket and de Hondt, 1764.