Alciphron is remembered for his Letters written in the purest Attic Greek. We know that he was Greek, a Sophist, a rhetorician and may have known Lucian. If this last bit of information is so — knowing Lucian, that is, — then he lived in the second century A.D. Guesses range from the second to the fifth century, however. Other than this, there is very little that is known about him according to the Introduction to the text.
His Letters are fictionalized accounts of various classes of ancient Grecian society and are rife with references and allusions to the ancient culture and history of Greece. There is also a lot of name-dropping scattered throughout — including many of the most famous names in the history of Greece. Allusions to major and minor mythological beings are tossed in to top it off.
To us, today, the Letters describe attitudes and morals which we do not commonly consider to have existed in that idealized, glorified period of history. The situations, emotions and behaviors reported in these epistles could be descriptions written by people now. After reading this book, you will also expand your repertoire of insults and proverbs, Athens-style.
This is an interesting work. Once more, the evidence that women were not quite so repressed in ancient days, as many of us suppose, is clearly demonstrated.
The Introduction is very helpful: enlightening without being boring. Unfortunately, the author of the translation is not credited.
Regarding the online version: the end notes have been incorporated into the body of the text, and a few typos corrected. David Whitehead, that exceedingly nice man, confirmed the typo referring to Theocritus.
So start reading these letters to and from Courtesans, Parasites, Philosophers, Comedians and Fishermen HERE.