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The Call of Blood: Greek Origins of a Motif, from Euripides to Heliodorus

From: Syllecta Classica
Volume 22 (2011)
pp. 113-129 | 10.1353/syl.2011.0010



This article attempts to retrace the origins of the motif of "nature's voice" or "the call of blood," which is extensively exploited in early Christian narratives and, in later periods, in drama, especially in France, but an important instance of which appears already in the Greek novel Aethiopica. Previous scholarship has argued that the origin of the motif is in that novel or at any rate in the early Roman period. Instead, this article suggests that traces of the motif can be spotted already in Greek tragedy and philosophy, though the Aethiopica seems to be the first text to theorize it and to give it prominence.

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