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A parody of Plato's Symposium. A philosophers' banquet ends in drunken violence.
A dialogue between Solon and Anacharsis about athletics.
A eulogy of Panthea, the mistress of the Roman emperor Lucius Verus. Critics have doubted the sincerity of the praise.
Lycinus (Lucian) mocks the prophetic claims of the poet Hesiod.
A dialogue between Hermes and Charon about the vanity of human wishes.
A severe satire on the ridiculous rites and ceremonies which made a part of the Saturnalia, towards the end of this little tract he exposes the absurdity of some convivial customs and recommends others in their stead.
A defence of his essay Portrait-Study
30 miniature dialogues set in the Underworld. Among the most famous of Lucian's works.
25 miniature dialogues mocking the Homeric conception of the Greek gods.
15 miniature dialogues between hetairai. The style is influenced by the New Comedy and the mimes of authors such as Herondas.
15 miniature dialogues involving the Greek Sea-Gods.
The longest of Lucian's works. A philosophical dialogue, modelled on those of Plato, between an old Stoic, Hermotimus, and Lycinus (who represents Lucian himself).
An account of how the historian Herodotus and the painter Aetion both publicised their works at the Olympic Games. It contains a description of Aetion's picture of the marriage of Alexander the Great and Roxana.
Imitating Icarus, Menippus makes himself a pair of wings and flies up to the gods where he learns that Zeus has decided to destroy all philosophers as useless.
A satire on linguistic pretentiousness.
The Cynic philosopher Menippus visits the Underworld to ask Teiresias which is the true philosophy.
A diatribe against the city of Rome put into the mouth of the philosopher Nigrinus.
A defence of the Roman art of pantomime.
A dialogue involving Timon of Athens. Lucian's work influenced the play by Shakespeare.
A dialogue between the Scythian Toxaris and the Greek Mnesippus about friendship, inspired by the Scythian worship of Orestes and Pylades.
Prometheus defends himself against the charges of stealing meat from Zeus, stealing fire from heaven and creating mankind.
Zeus puts various philosophers up for sale in a slave market.
Letters about wealth, Saturnalia, and related affairs.
A dialogue between Lycinus (i.e. Lucian) and a Cynic philosopher.
Lucian defends his literary style against his critics.
A sequel to Philosophies for Sale.
A dialogue in which Momus complains that too many foreigners and mortals have been admitted to the ranks of the Greek gods. His targets include Dionysus, Apis and Anubis.
A collection of tall tales, including the story of the Sorcerer's Apprentice.
Lucian ironically proves that parasitism is the highest of all art forms.
Satirizing the euphuists of Lucian’s day
The poor cobbler Micyllus threatens to kill a rooster which has woken him from a dream of riches. The rooster explains that he is a reincarnation of Pythagoras. He grants Micyllus the power of invisibility so he can show him the private life of the rich and prove the cobbler is far better off in his poverty.
An attack on contemporary Cynics.
The sight of a huge Egyptian grain-ship prompts a discussion among friends about what they most desire. Adeimantus would have the ship filled with gold and live a life of luxury; Samippus would like to be a world-conquering king; Timolaus wants magic powers, including invisibility. After hearing them all, Lycinus (Lucian), says that he is content with the privilege of laughing at the others, especially when they claim to be philosophers.
A group of dead people, including the tyrant Megapenthes, are carried to the Underworld in Charon's boat. Only the cobbler Micyllus accepts his fate with resignation.
A dialogue concerning the contradiction between the power of fate and divine omnipotence.
A parody of Greek tragedy and a discussion of the conflicting Stoic and Epicurean ideas about the nature of the gods.
An account of the fraudulent prophet Alexander of Abonoteichus.
Lucian's defence of his own literary style.
Literary reply to 'The Dependent Scholar'.
Lucian analyses a slip of the tongue he made when greeting his patron.
A biography of the philosopher Demonax. It is not known whether he really existed or whether he is Lucian's creation.
Praise of the orator Demosthenes.
A short essay about the god Dionysus and his journey to India.
A description of the dipsas or thirst-snake.
An anecdote about the flute-player Harmonides.
A short essay on the Gaulish god Ogmios, who Lucian associates with the Greek Heracles.
A diatribe on mourning from a Cynic perspective.
A short diatribe on sacrifices from a Cynic perspective.
A highly conventional rhetorical piece in praise of patriotism.
A paradoxical defence of the notorious tyrant Phalaris.
The second part of Phalaris.
A diatribe against a Syrian book-collector.
A description of the Roman festival of Saturnalia.
An essay against believing slander too readily. Lucian's description of a painting by Apelles in this work influenced many later artists, including Botticelli.
The author visits the River Eridanos and is disappointed to find it has neither swans nor amber (as in the myth of Phaeton).
An account of the death of the Cynic philosopher Peregrinus Proteus who committed suicide by cremating himself on a funeral pyre at the Olympic Games in 165 AD.
A Hogarthian sketch of the life led by educated Greeks who attached themselves to the households of great Roman lords - and ladies.
Another fictitious declamation, this time about a disowned son.
A paradoxical encomium of the insect of the title.
A description of a magnificent building.
A satire on contemporary oratory.
The story of the Scythian Toxaris and his visit to Athens. This short work was possibly intended as an introduction to Toxaris or Friendship.
A description of the cult of the goddess Atargatis. Written in Ionic Greek in emulation of Herodotus.
One of Lucian's most famous works. A parody of travellers' tales. The narrator and his companions set out on a voyage and are lifted up by a giant waterspout and deposited on the Moon. There they find themselves embroiled in a full-scale war between the king of the Moon and the king of the Sun. On returning to Earth, the adventurers become trapped in a giant whale. The narrator and his companions escape from the whale, reach a sea of milk, an island of cheese and the isle of the blessed, where a whole host of heroes and literary figures are to be found.
A declamation on a fictitious subject. The speaker had planned to assassinate a tyrant but was only able to kill his son instead. On hearing the news of his son's death, the tyrant committed suicide. The speaker now claims he is owed a reward as a tyrannicide.
Lucian tells how a vision inspired him to abandon a career in sculpture for one in literature.
Lucian's criticism of contemporary historians.
The consonant sigma sues the consonant tau for stealing words from him. The case is heard by a jury of the seven vowels.
Anecdotes about the painter Zeuxis and the Seleucid king Antiochus I Soter. It contains a description of a painting of a centaur by Zeuxis.
Out of all of these autobiographical treatises, The Vision is Lucian's most manifestly personal narrative. Other narratives provide the reader with glimpses into Lucian's real life biography but mostly into his mind and thoughts.
Amongst his most rhetorical pieces are:
The rhetorical pieces often tried to make a speech or exposition out of an extemporaneous subject. It is speculated that Lucian composed these rhetorical pieces early in his career before he turned to comic dialogue. The pieces are smart and witty nonetheless.
There is no trace in them of the characteristic use that he afterwards made of dialogue, for the purposes of satire
(i) About 145 to 160 A.D. Lucian a rhetorician in Ionia, Greece, Italy, and Gaul.
(ii) About 160 to 164 A.D. After Lucian's return to Asia.
(iii) About 165 A.D. At Athens.
The next eight groups, iv-xi, belong to the years from about 165 A.D. to about 175 A.D., when Lucian was at his best and busiest; iv-ix are to be regarded roughly as succeeding each other in time; x and xi being independent in this respect. Pieces are assigned to groups mainly according to their subjects.
(iv) About 165 A.D.
(v) Influence of the New Comedy writers.
(vi) Influence of the Menippean satire.
(vii) Influence of the Old Comedy writers: vanity of human wishes.
(viii) Influence of the Old Comedy writers: dialogues satirizing religion.
(ix) Influence of the Old Comedy writers: satire on philosophers.
(x) 165 - 175 A.D. Introductory lectures.
(xi) 165 - 175 A.D. Scattered pieces standing apart from the great dialogue series, but written during the same period.
(xii) After 180 A.D.
(xiii) In old age.