chapter  9
Les Amours d’Ismène & Isménias, ‘roman très connu’: e Aerlife of a Byzantine Novel in Eighteenth-Century France
Pages 32

Once Julius Caesar Scaliger (1484-1558) had stated in his Poetics (Poetices libri septem, 1560) that every epic poet should read the Aithiopika carefully and consider it the best of models,4 the success of the Greek novel was a fact: Heliodoros was seen as an equal of both Homer and Virgil, which strongly inuenced literary works and scholarly discussions of literature in the 1600s.5 As we reach the eighteenth century, the central position of the Greek novel in the French tradition is implicitly underlined in the article on roman in the Encyclopédie.6 Aer a brief denition of the genre (‘récit ctif de diverses avantures merveilleuses ou vraisemblables de la vie humaine’) and a reference to ‘le plus beau roman du monde, Télémaque’,7 the author of the article, Louis de Jaucourt (LJ), starts by considering the genre’s beginning:

Je ne rechercherai point l’origine des romans, M. Huet a épuisé ce sujet, il faut le consulter.8 On connoît les amours de Diniace & de Déocillis par Antoine Diogène, c’est le premier des romans grecs.9 Jamblique a peint les amours de

Form of Minor French Romances of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century’, Antike und Abendland 28 (1982), 169-91, esp. 169-74; M. Doody, e True Story of the Novel (London, 1997), esp. 239-44; L. Plazenet, ‘Jacques Amyot and the Greek Novel: e Invention of the French Novel’, in G. N. Sandy, ed., Classical Heritage in France (Leiden, 2002), 237-80. See also M. Reeve, ‘e Re-emergence of Ancient Novels in Western Europe, 1300-1810’, in T. Whitmarsh, ed., e Cambridge Companion to the Greek and Roman Novel (Cambridge, 2008), 286-7.