The Function of the Pellichus Sequence at Lucian Philopseudes 18-20

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Daniel Ogden


One of the more extended exchanges on magic and the supernatural between the host Eucrates and his guests in Lucian’s Philopseudes or Lover of Lies is the sequence concerning Eucrates’ own animated statue of Pellichus, which can dismount from its pedestal, heal the sick, and punish the sacrilegious. This paper explores the multiple functions that that tale and the guests’ discussion surrounding it play within the dialogue. Consideration is given to: the sequence’s positioning and structural function within the wider dialogue; the purpose of its ecphrastic elements; the manner in which Eucrates may be seen to unravel his own story as he tells it; Lucian’s commentary upon the phenomenon of healing statues; and finally the contextualisation of the sinister threats offered by the statue.

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