Aethiopica

Aethiopica

It is considered one of the great classics of ancient Greece.

Aethiopica, or an Ethiopian Story, was written by Heliodorus of Emesa.

Its believed the work was written in the third century B.C. but was found intact only during the Renaissance in 1526 and soon  translated into French in 1547 by  Jacques Amyot and into English in 1569 by Thomas Underdowne.

According to the summary provided on Wikipedia, “Chariclea, the daughter of King Hydaspes and Queen Persinna of Ethiopia, was born white because her mother gazed upon a painting of the naked Andromed awhile Chariclea was being conceived.

Fearing accusations of adultery, Persinna gives her baby daughter to the care of Sisimithras,  who takes the baby to Egypt and places her in the care of Charicles, a Pythian priest.

Chariclea is then taken to Delphi, and made a priestess of Artemis. Theagenes, a noble Thessalian, comes to Delphi and the two fall in love. He runs off with Chariclea with the help of Calasiris, an Egyptian who has been employed by Persinna to find Chariclea.

They encounter many perils: pirates, bandits, and others. The main characters ultimately meet at Meroe at the very moment when Chariclea is about to be sacrificed to the gods by her own father. Her birth is made known, and the lovers are happily married.

(Photo: The Meeting of Theagenes and Chariclea by Ambroise Dubois.  Dubois was a sixteenth century Flemish-born French painter.)

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