An Ephesian Tale (by Xenophon of Ephesus)

Ephesian Tale Xenophon Ephesus

An Ephesian Tale audiobook by Ioannis Stratakis

About the Ephesian Tale

We are dealing here with what could be called the first (surviving) novel in world literature, a work presenting fictional characters (the young and utterly beautiful Antheia and Habrocomes) and the adventures they go through, which challenge their promise of eternal love and faithfulness. The life threatening situations wherein they land, all the temptations, threats and separation they shall gracefully – one can better say “heroically” – withstand, till their final liberating union. The work is full of surprising turns, laid out in linear manner, which never ceases to intensify the plot.
Due to its “easy” language it is first class educational material of the intermediate level, offering an interesting adventurous plot and giving a fictional and charming, albeit clear example of moral recompense for upright perseverance and steadfastness.
You can follow the text online at the Perseus Library, or Bibliotheca Augustana, read a synopsis at the website of Hellenica World, or wikiwand, or, even better, get an interesting take of a book ;-)

Xenophon of Ephesus

The otherwise totally unknown author of the “Ephesian Tale” has lived between the 1st and 3rd century CE. Linguistic peculiarities place him rather in the middle of the 1st century, contemporary or just a few years earlier of Chariton of Aphrodisias. Some scholars believe that the name Xenophon is an artistic pseudonym, based on the fact that more ancient novel authors carried the name Xenophon (together with a toponym), but in his case it might be his real name, as in the Suda he appears to have written more that this work. I don’t know if this is a valid argument, but it doesn’t really add to or lower the enjoyment of his novel…

About the audiobook

The recording contains the complete, unabridged Ancient Greek text of the “Ephesian Tale”.
After purchase you will be able to download the zip file, containing both mp3 and m4b formats. The m4b format is bookmarkable and divided in the 5 books themselves for your convenience when listening or following the original text. Where deemed better for following the story, I’ve moved a sentence or two to the end of a previous book or the beginning of the next in a couple of places, in order not to disturb the continuity of the narration. The editions I’ve consulted don’t always offer a clear division of the books, so I’ve made my own choice.

A short sample chapter

You can listen to chapter 1 of the 1st book, as an audio sample of the present audiobook. Please, click on the play-button bellow and, if you wish, follow the Ancient Greek text lower on the page, or alternatively watch the video. Thank you!



Ἦν ἐν Ἐφέσῳ ἀνὴρ τῶν τὰ πρῶτα ἐκεῖ δυναμένων, Λυκομήδης ὄνομα. Τούτῳ τῷ Λυκομήδει ἐκ γυναικὸς ἐπιχωρίου Θεμιστοῦς γίνεται παῖς Ἁβροκόμης, μέγα τι χρῆμα κάλλους οὔτε ἐν Ἰωνίᾳ οὔτε ἐν ἄλλῃ γῇ πρότερον γενομένου. [2] Οὗτος ὁ Ἁβροκόμης ἀεὶ μὲν καὶ καθ’ ἡμέραν εἰς κάλλος ηὔξετο, συνήνθει δὲ αὐτῷ τοῖς τοῦ σώματος καλοῖς καὶ τὰ τῆς ψυχῆς ἀγαθά: παιδείαν τε γὰρ πᾶσαν ἐμελέτα καὶ μουσικὴν ποικίλην ἤσκει, θήρα δὲ αὐτῷ καὶ ἱππασία καὶ ὁπλομαχία συνήθη γυμνάσματα. [3] Ἦν δὲ περισπούδαστος ἅπασιν Ἐφεσίοις, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς τὴν ἄλλην Ἀσίαν οἰκοῦσι, καὶ μεγάλας εἶχον ἐν αὐτῷ τὰς ἐλπίδας ὅτι πολίτης ἔσοιτο διαφέρων. Προσεῖχον δὲ ὡς θεῷ τῷ μειρακίῳ: καί εἰσιν ἤδη τινὲς οἳ καὶ προσεκύνησαν ἰδόντες καὶ προσεύξαντο. [4] Ἐφρόνει δὲ τὸ μειράκιον ἐφ̓ ἑαυτῷ μέγα καὶ ἠγάλλετο μὲν καὶ τοῖς τῆς ψυχῆς κατορθώμασι, πολὺ δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ κάλλει τοῦ σώματος: πάντων δὲ τῶν ἄλλων, ὅσα δὴ ἐλέγετο καλά, ὡς ἐλαττόνων κατεφρόνει καὶ οὐδὲν αὐτῷ, οὐ θέαμα, οὐκ ἄκουσμα ἄξιον Ἁβροκόμου κατεφαίνετο: [5] καὶ εἴ τινα ἢ παῖδα καλὸν ἀκούσαι ἢ παρθένον εὔμορφον, κατεγέλα τῶν λεγόντων ὡς οὐκ εἰδότων ὅτι εἴη εἷς καλὸς αὐτός. Ἔρωτά γε μὴν οὐδὲ ἐνόμιζεν εἶναι θεόν, ἀλλὰ πάντη ἐξέβαλεν οὐδὲν ἡγούμενος, λέγων ὡς οὐκ ἄν ποτέ τις ἐρασθείη οὐδὲ ὑποταγείη τῷ θεῷ μὴ θέλων: [6] εἰ δέ που ἱερὸν ἢ ἄγαλμα Ἔρωτος εἶδε, κατεγέλα, ἀπέφαινέ τε ἑαυτὸν Ἔρωτος παντὸς καλλίονα. Καὶ εἶχεν οὕτως: ὅπου γὰρ Ἁβροκόμης ὀφθείη, οὔτε ἄγαλμα καλὸν ἐφαίνετο οὔτε εἰκὼν ἐπῃνεῖτο.
Μηνίει πρὸς ταῦτα ὁ Ἔρως: φιλόνεικος γὰρ ὁ θεὸς καὶ ὑπερηφάνοις ἀπαραίτητος: ἐζήτει δὲ τέχνην κατὰ τοῦ μειρακίου: καὶ γὰρ καὶ τῷ θεῷ δυσάλωτος ἐφαίνετο. Ἐξοπλίσας οὖν ἑαυτὸν καὶ πᾶσαν δύναμιν ἐρωτικῶν φαρμάκων περιβαλόμενος ἐστράτευεν ἐφ’ Ἁβροκόμην.

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