Phlegon of Tralles' Book of Marvels
Distributed for Liverpool University Press
The Book is arranged thematically: Ghosts; Sex-Changers and Hermaphrodites; Finds of Giant Bones; Monstrous Births; Births from Males; Amazing Multiple Births; Abnormally Rapid Development of Human Beings; Discoveries of Live Centaurs. This volume also contains and Introduction and commentary on the texts, as well as translations of fragments of two other works and a translation of Goethe's well-known vampire poem, The Bride of Corinth, which was inspired by Phlegon's Book of Marvels.
“Characteristic of Hansen's work is not only that he places Phlegon's efforts in the context of the literature of the Roman empire, but also that he compares the reports by this author with similar miraculous reports from later, even modern times. . . Hansen has put us in his debt by making this neglected material accessible in such a convenient way.” –Mnemosyne, Vol. LII, 1999
“Within the relics of paradoxography, the fragments of Phlegon of Tralleis, a freedman of the emperor Hadrian, are untypical and, for that very reason, of uncommon interest. William Hansen has done a valuable service in placing them within easy reach of the Greekless reader or student toiling in either of the neighbouring fields...anyone who needs to know about Phlegon has no hesitation in acquiring this handsomely produced and reasonably priced book...It is exactly the kind of resource needed to introduce students to the intriguing margins of ancient historiography.” –Histos, 1998
“At a time when the study of marginality is popular, this book gives insight into ancient forerunners of the literary freak-show . . . The delight in the violation of the natural order in The Book of Marvels is kept within decent bounds by the sense that, although inexplicable, the monstrous can be deciphered, often to the benefit of the community.” –Times Literary Supplement, August 22, 1997