Alla ricerca di 'leggende contemporanee' in Grecia e a Roma: una rassegna e qualche nuova proposta

Tommaso Braccini


Beginning in the 1980s, it has been shown how parallels of today’s 'contemporary legends' can be found in ancient literature. Polygenetic convergences, literary influences, but also real continuities can be evoked to explain the analogies between the modern stories of the crocodiles in the New York sewers, of the vanishing hitchhiker, of the devil in the ballroom, of the inventor of the water engine, and narratives in Aelianus, Phlegon, Lucian, Petronius and others. Here, we will also discuss possible parallels, unnoticed so far, between the story of the 'son of Polycritus' by Phlegon of Tralles and the 'contemporary legend' of the newborn boy who prophesies misfortunes, and between the story (probably already in John Malalas' Chronicle) of the dissemination of vipers and lions along the Roman borders by emperor Decius, and the contemporary rumor concerning the unwary release of vipers and wolves by State agencies or ecologist organizations.

Parole chiave

Contemporary legends; folktales; Phlegon; Lucian; Decius; Malalas.

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