Dio of Prusa, Or. 61, Chryseis, or Reading Homeric Silence

Document Type


Publication Date



Dio of Prusa, the itinerant orator and moralist of the late first century C.E., is a key figure in the history of ancient Homeric reception. His corpus, like that of many Imperial writers, is filled with Homeric citations and allusions, but it also features an encomiastic essay to the poet – On Homer ( Or . 53) – dialogues that use Homer to demonstrate the good ruler’s proper behaviour – the second Kingship Oration (2) and Agamemnon (56) – and other short essays on Homeric topics, such as Nestor (57) and On Homer and Socrates (55). He is perhaps best known, however, for his notorious anti-Homeric tour de force, the Trojan Oration (11), in which he demonstrates through a close reading of the Iliad that Homer had lied and that the Trojans had actually won the war. Along with Philostratus’ Heroicus and the ‘Troy Romances’ of Dictys and Dares, it is probably the best representative of the Homeric revisionism in vogue during the Roman Empire, and its mixture of audacity, erudition, irony and (feigned?) outrage in the service of overturning tradition has baffled, frustrated and delighted readers ever since.

Document Object Identifier (DOI)


Publication Information

The Classical Quarterly

This document is currently not available here.