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13.2 Entre a história e o topos literário: a relação incestuosa do tirano Periandro e sua mãe

Delfim F. Leão
Universidade de Coimbra
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Taking as starting point the discrepancies in the way Periander is portrayed by the sources since Herodotus, this essay proposes an examination of the topic of ‘amorous incontinence’, exploring in particular the tradition of the incestuous relationship between the tyrant of Corinth and his own mother. The narration of this relationship contrary to nature is attributed by Diogenes Laertius (1. 96) to Aristippus, who is said to have introduced the topic in his Treaty on the Luxury of the Ancients. Parthenius (Passions of Love, 17) presents an amplified version of the same episode, which shares several aspects with Apuleius’ Tale of Love and Psyche, mainly in what deals with the use of the lamp trick to unveil a lover who doesn’t want his identity to be revealed. Therefore, in this essay the issue is discussed both in the perspective of its sources and of the way an historic tale of passion was expanded and recycled as a literary topos.


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