chapter twenty-nine


J.R. Morgan


Heliodorus’ Aethiopica begins , which results not only in a radical disjunction of fabula and story,1 but also to a comparable separation of story-space and fabula-space. e story begins with a scene at the Heracleotic mouth of the Nile and ends in Meroe, the capital of Ethiopia. Story-space is thus in eect arranged along the course of the Nile, from its mouth southwards to- wards its source. e of the story is distributed over a relatively small number of extended episodes, each with a separate , and linked by summarily narrated travel. e scene on the beach (.–) is succeeded by an extended sequence in the stronghold of the brigands, the Boukoloi (‘cowboys’), who infest the marshes near the Nile Delta (.– .; returned to analeptically at .–). Here the captured , eagenes and Chariclea, meet the Athenian Cnemon and listen to his story. An important part of this section is set in a secret cave, where Chariclea is concealed by the infatuated robber-chief, yamis, and twice confused with isbe, the antagonist of Cnemon’s narrative. e story then follows one of the characters, Cnemon, to the village of Chemmis, where he meets the important secondary narrator, Calasiris, and listens to his of the earlier part of the fabula in the house of the merchant Nausicles, and is reunited with Chariclea (.–.; .– .). From there Calasiris and Chariclea journey on alone towards the city of Memphis, where they have learned that eagenes has been taken, so that the Persian satrap, Orondates, can send him as a gi to the Great King. Just outside the city, they stumble across a battleÞeld, where they witness a scene of necromancy (.–). An elaborate scene

1 SAGN : –.  j.r. morgan of reunion and recognition is staged outside the walls of Memphis, in which the satrap’s wife Arsace sees and is infatuated with eagenes. For two books the intrigue centres on the satrapal palace, including scenes in Arsace’s bedchamber, the guest rooms where the protagonists are lodged for a while, the quarters where the aged servant Cybele lives with her son Achaemenes, the satrapal dining-room, where eagenes is forced to wait at table, and a dungeon where eagenes is tortured (.–.). Most graphically in this sequence, Chariclea is brought before a court of Persian dignitaries, then miraculously saved from a public burning at the stake before being returned to the dungeon-cells where she and eagenes out an important scene of proleptic dreams. From Memphis the pair is summoned to the satrap, who is assembling his army at ebes for a war against Ethiopia, but before they reach him they are captured by Ethiopian soldiers (.–). e ninth book concerns military operations around the city of Syene, on the frontier between Egypt and Ethiopia, including the escape of the besieged Persians to Philae and a full-scale battle, and culminating in the ceremonial entry of the Ethiopian king, Hydaspes, into the city of Syene. eagenes and Chariclea are taken to Ethiopia, to be victims in a thanks-giving ritual of human sacriÞce, but in a lengthy recognition scene set outside the city Chariclea is recognised as the king’s daughter, and her marriage to eagenes given parental approval. In the very last sentence of the narrative the action moves inside the city of Meroe (.–). Story-space therefore concentrates around the Nile Delta (Bucolia), Chemmis, Memphis, Syene and Meroe. Within the story, however, vital parts of the fabula are supplied in secondary (and even tertiary and fourth-level ) by Cnemon, in Bucolia, and by Calasiris in Nau- sicles’ house at Chemmis. Cnemon’s story (one of sexual deviance and selÞsh intrigue) is set principally in Athens. e earliest scenes play out in the domestic spaces of his father’s house, but the action broadens out to include the house of the courtesan Arsinoe, and, at its , the public spaces of Athens, including recognisable landmarks such as the Garden of the Epicureans (..), and the Academy and the pit where the polemarchs sacriÞce to the heroes (..). Part of Cnemon’s story is set on the island of Aegina, where he is exiled and receives news of events in Athens from two tertiary narrators. e narrative of Calasiris to Cnemon in Chemmis is more extensive, both in its length, and in its spatial scope. Calasiris’ story begins in Memphis, where he was high-priest of Isis, but the majority of it is set