Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
This thesis presents an attempt to classify the various types of fictional material commonly found in ancient Greek biographies, and to suggest to what extent the recognition of the recurrence of certain types of anecdote may provide a useful guideline for determining the historicity of biographical statements. After a discussion of the sources available to the biographers and the dangers inherent in the careless use of them, several types of recurring biographical motifs are isolated and particular instances of them are treated in detail. Among the factors seen to cause recurrence are: folk motifs underlying the material derived from popular tradition, topoi of invective present in the biographer's comic and rhetorical sources, the transference of general-purpose witty anecdotes, and recurring patterns of thought in the biographers' own minds due to their popularizing aims, preconceptions about history, and philosophical outlook.
Fairweather, Janet Anne, "Recurring Motifs in the Greek Biographies of Literary Men" (1972). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5046.
McMaster University Library