by Leslie Kelly, Ph.D.
This short book is designed to introduce students of ancient history to the genre known as “the dialogue.” This literary form went through periods of popularity and decline in ancient Greece and Rome but it was present from the classical period through late antiquity and carried over into medieval and Byzantine culture. For all ancient texts, historians ask who created it, when, and why? They try to determine the author’s agenda and try to situate the text within its larger historical context. For the dialogue, we must do more than this. We must consider the conventions of the genre and read later compositions in light of earlier examples of the form. This book will explore the origins of dialogue in ancient
Greece and explain how dialogues of the Greco-Roman world were intended to be read. It will examine significant examples in the development of the genre from Greek, Roman, and early Christian cultures, and discuss the issues that students must take into account in order to responsibly utilize these sources to reconstruct and understand the past.
Dr. Leslie Kelly teaches at American Public University and holds advanced degrees in Jewish and Christian Scriptures, classics, and ancient history.