Richard Hunter's "Serpents in the Soul: the ‘Libyan Myth’ of Dio Chrysostom"
Abstract: Dio 5, the ‘Libyan Myth’, is an important document of ancient mythography, for it both tells a myth, interprets it allegorically, and begins with a brief general account of how myth can function educationally. The myth tells of creatures that infested Libya, part hideous snake, part beautiful woman; their favourite food was human flesh and they lured men to their death by showing them a glimpse of the body of the beautiful woman. Dio introduces the story as about human passions and the paper will consider what Dio 5 can teach us about the work which the ancients allowed myth to do. Particular attention will be paid to the Platonic background the myth and to similarities and differences with the Libyan wanderings of the Argonauts in the fourth book of Apollonius’ Argonautica and with those of Cato’s army in Lucan 9.