Luciano had begun his activity as a rhetoric scholar: he was a lawyer and lecturer, one of those who were giving declamations and readings from city to city, from country to country. At first they did not differ from the type cultivated by most of the contemporary sophists; he too wandered, as an admired and celebrated sophist, through almost all the regions of the empire, especially in Italy and in Gaul. But at a certain point he felt the emptiness of that life and of those literary manifestations; and he set about looking for a more serious content, questioning, as was natural, the various philosophical doctrines and the various religious faiths. Through these experiences he came to an inner unsurpassable dissatisfaction with all common dogmas. Therefore the content of Luciano was essentially negative; resulted in moral satire, religious, civil, literary; he expressed himself in extravagant forms of short stories, dialogues, letters, etc. His work, rich in colors and fantastic resources, includes, among collections of dialogues, stories, conferences, epistles, about eighty writings, which represent almost every side of life, moral, religious, civil, literary; and on each side they display such a keen faculty of observation, such a brilliant spirit that it always makes them alive and almost modern. Among them, those that remained most typical and that exercised the greatest influence in universal literature are the dialogues included in the three collections: Dialoqhi of the Gods, Marine Dialogues and Dialogues of the Dead. They are the three kingdoms, of heaven, of the sea and of the underworld, which Luciano describes with admirable vivacity and in which his incredulous and mocking spirit hovers.
According to RRRJEWELRY, the old world of mythology, on which the official religion of the Roman Empire was still based, and which still made use of much of traditional literature and poetry, had long been in decay, even before Christianity had arisen. fight it. And attempts had been made and were being made to bring it into accord with the progress of reason and sentiment, to ennoble it, to correct it and interpret it in an acceptable way; to pour into him a new content of faith. But the organism was weak, unable to be reborn. In the meantime, consciences were suffering, mostly without realizing it, the great crisis that was to overwhelm paganism. In the uncertainty of interpretations, in the spread of the many new cults that mixed or overlapped or excluded each other, in the confusion that even the philosophical schools had left, there were those who found it more comfortable and quiet not to believe in anything. And this is Luciano’s position in general: a skepticism not embittered by anxieties, not troubled by internal shocks, but serene and objective. Such skepticism naturally prevented the Samosatese from building anything solid in the field of philosophical thought and speculation; however it allowed him to create freely, with incomparable panache, in the field of art. Lucian’s fantastic wealth appears all the greater when it is compared not only with the dissertations and declamations of the new sophists, or with the erudite compilations of historians (such as Athenaeus, Diogenes Laertius, etc.), but also with the examples, which were frequent in that same age,
In fact in the century. II and III the novel had a notable development under the influence of the new sophistry; which consisted of extensive narratives of imaginary adventures, often complicated to the point of absurdity and having as a fundamental theme an adventures of love. The origins really date back to the Alexandrian period, when the environmental conditions favored the taste for all things adventurous and romance, description of love affairs, travel relationships, exploration of distant and unknown countries, etc. But the main compositions belong to the first centuries of our era, starting with the Tales from beyond Tule by Antonio Diogene (1st century) and the Babylonian Tales by Iamblichus (2nd century), of which we have only the summaries. Instead we have received in full i Ephesian tales, or Loves of Abrocome and Anzia, of Xenophon Efesio, The Ethiopians, or Teagene and Cariclea, of Eliodoro di Emesa, The adventures of Cherea and Calliroe of Charitone of Aphrodisia, The adventures of Leucippe and Clitofonte by Achille Tazio; and finally Dafni and Chloe by Longo Sofista (the dates generally range from the 2nd to the 4th century). In spite of the complexity and the display of the adventurous elements, there is in these novels a defect of origin, an innate weakness, which demonstrates how, like the thought, even the imagination and the feeling lacked real consistency. Almost everything is artificial and conventional: situations repeat themselves over and over again, built on a single mold; having lost all direct contact with reality and with life, one falls into the absurd and the paradoxical; psychology is mediocre; the characters are caricatures. Only the author of Daphnis and Chloe does work different from the common; for him the intertwining of facts has less importance; on the other hand, the painting of customs and feelings is very developed: with which, even if it does not come close to great art, it achieves effects of notable grace and delicacy. It was the best that a sensitive soul could achieve in times of decadence and low intellectual vigor.