List of works by Lucian

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Lucian. Opera. Amsterdam: Jacobus Wetstein, 1743.

A list of works by Lucian of Samosata (c. AD 125 – after AD 180), who wrote in Ancient Greek.

The order of the works is that of the Oxford Classical Texts edition. The English titles are taken from Loeb (alternative translations are sometimes given in brackets). The traditional Latin titles have also been given.

Some of the works are probably not by Lucian. Those whose attribution is almost certainly wrong are listed at the end. Other works whose authenticity is disputed are marked "[?]". Four works whose genuineness was once questioned but are now generally believed to be by Lucian are marked with an asterisk.[1]

List of works[edit]

Greek title Latin title English title Brief description
Φάλαρις Α Phalaris I Phalaris 1 A paradoxical defence of the notorious tyrant Phalaris.
Φάλαρις Β Phalaris II Phalaris 2 The second part of the above.
Ἱππίας ἢ Βαλανεῖον Hippias Hippias or The Bath A description of a Roman bath-house.
Διόνυσος Bacchus Dionysus A short essay about the god Dionysus and his journey to India.
Ἡρακλῆς Hercules Heracles or Hercules A short essay on the Gaulish god Ogmios, whom Lucian associates with the Greek Heracles.
Περὶ τοῦ Ἡλέκτρου ἢ Κύκνων Electrum Amber or The Swans The author visits the River Eridanos and is disappointed to find it has neither swans nor amber (as in the myth of Phaëton).
Μυίας Ἐγκώμιον Muscae Encomium The Fly (Praising a Fly) A paradoxical encomium of the insect of the title.
Νιγρίνου Φιλοσοφία Nigrinus Nigrinus A diatribe against the city of Rome put into the mouth of the philosopher Nigrinus.
Δημώνακτος Βίος Demonax Demonax A biography of the cynic philosopher Demonax. Keith Sidwell has suggested that Demonax was Lucian's creation.[2]
Περὶ τοῦ Οἴκου De Domo The Hall A description of a magnificent building.
Πατρίδος Ἐγκώμιον Patriae Encomium My Native Land (An Encomium of Fatherland) "A highly conventional rhetorical piece" in praise of patriotism.[3]
[?] Μακρόβιοι Macrobii Octogenerians (Long-livers) A list of people famous for reaching extreme old age.
Ἀληθῶν Διηγημάτων Α Verae historiae I A True Story 1 (True History) One of Lucian's most famous works. A parody of travellers' tales. The narrator and his companions set out on a voyage and are lifted up by a giant waterspout and deposited on the Moon. There they find themselves embroiled in a full-scale war between the king of the Moon and the king of the Sun. On returning to Earth, the adventurers become trapped in a giant whale.
Ἀληθῶν Διηγημάτων Β Verae historiae II A True Story 2 Part two of the above, in which the narrator and his companions escape from the whale, reach a sea of milk, an island of cheese and the isle of the blessed, where a whole host of heroes and literary figures are to be found.
Περὶ τοῦ μὴ ῥᾳδίως πιστεύειν Διαβολῇ Calumniae non temere credendum Slander An essay against believing slander too readily. Lucian's description of a painting by Apelles in this work influenced many later artists, including Botticelli.[4]
*Δίκη Συμφώνων Lis Consonantium (or Iudicium Vocalium) The Consonants at Law The consonant sigma sues the consonant tau for stealing words from him. The case is heard by a jury of the seven vowels.
Συμπόσιον ἢ Λαπίθαι Symposium The Carousal Symposium or The Lapiths A parody of Plato's Symposium. A philosophers' banquet ends in drunken violence.
[?] Ψευδοσοφιστής ἢ Σολοικιστής Soloecista Soloecista A discussion of grammatical errors (solecisms).
Κατάπλους ἢ Τύραννος Cataplus The Downward Journey or The Tyrant A group of dead people, including the tyrant Megapenthes, are carried to the Underworld in Charon's boat. Only the cobbler Micyllus accepts his fate with resignation.
Ζεὺς ἐλεγχόμενος Jupiter confutatus Zeus Catechized (Zeus Cross-Examined) A dialogue concerning the contradiction between the power of fate and divine omnipotence.
Ζεὺς Τραγῳδός Jupiter Tragoedus Zeus Rants A parody of Greek tragedy and a discussion of the conflicting Stoic and Epicurean ideas about the nature of the gods.
Ὄνειρος ἢ Ἀλεκτρυών Gallus The Dream or The Cock The poor cobbler Micyllus threatens to kill a cockerel which has woken him from a dream of riches. The cockerel explains that he is a reincarnation of Pythagoras. He grants Micyllus the power of invisibility so he can show him the private life of the rich and prove the cobbler is far better off in his poverty.
Προμηθεύς Prometheus Prometheus Prometheus defends himself against the charges of stealing meat from Zeus, stealing fire from heaven and creating mankind.
Ἰκαρομένιππος ἢ Ὑπερνέφελος Icaromenippus Icaromenippus or The Sky-man Imitating Icarus, Menippus makes himself a pair of wings and flies up to the gods where he learns that Zeus has decided to destroy all philosophers as useless.
Τίμων Timon Timon or The Misanthrope A dialogue involving Timon of Athens. Lucian's work influenced the play by Shakespeare.
Χάρων ἢ Ἐπισκοποῦντες Charon sive Contemplantes Charon or The Inspectors A dialogue between Hermes and Charon about the vanity of human wishes.
Βίων Πρᾶσις Vitarum auctio Philosophies for Sale (Sale of Creeds) Zeus puts various philosophers up for sale in a slave market.
Ἀναβιοῦντες ἢ Ἁλιεύς Revivescentes sive Piscator The Dead Come to Life or The Fisherman A sequel to Philosophies for Sale.
Δὶς κατηγορούμενος Bis accusatus sive Tribunalia The Double Indictment or Trials by Jury Lucian defends his literary style against his critics.
Περὶ Θυσιῶν De Sacrificiis On Sacrifices A short diatribe on sacrifices from a Cynic perspective.
Πρὸς τὸν ἀπαίδευτον καὶ πολλὰ βιβλία ὠνούμενον Adversus Indoctum The Ignorant Book-Collector (Fowler's title is Remarks addressed to an illiterate book-fancier) A diatribe against a Syrian book-collector.
Περὶ τοῦ Ἐνυπνίου ἤτοι Βίος Λουκιανοῦ Somnium sive Vita Luciani The Dream or Lucian's Career Lucian tells how a vision inspired him to abandon a career in sculpture for one in literature.
*Περὶ τοῦ Παρασίτου ὅτι Τέχνη ἡ Παρασιτική De Parasito The Parasite: Parasitic an Art Lucian ironically proves that parasitism is the highest of all art forms.
Φιλοψευδὴς ἢ Ἀπιστῶν Philopseudes sive Incredulus The Lover of Lies, or The Doubter A collection of tall tales, including a story similar to Sorcerer's Apprentice.
Θεῶν Κρίσις Dearum Iudicium The Judgement of the Goddesses A dialogue based on the Judgement of Paris.
Περὶ τῶν ἐν Μισθῷ συνόντων De Mercede conductis On Salaried Posts in Great Houses (The Dependent Scholar) "A Hogarthian sketch of the life led by educated Greeks who attached themselves to the households of great Roman lords – and ladies".[5]
Ἀνάχαρσις ἢ Περὶ Γυμνασίων Anacharsis Anacharsis or Athletics A dialogue between Solon and Anacharsis about athletics.
Μένιππος ἢ Νεκυομαντεία Necyomantia Menippus or The Descent Into Hades The Cynic philosopher Menippus visits the Underworld to ask Teiresias which is the true philosophy.
[?] Λούκιος ἢ Ὄνος Asinus Lucius or The Ass A short novel about a man transformed into a donkey. The surviving version of this work is possibly abbreviated and may not be by Lucian. The same story is told at greater length in the Golden Ass by Apuleius.
Περὶ Πένθους De Luctu On Funerals (On Mourning) A diatribe on mourning from a Cynic perspective.
Ῥητόρων Διδάσκαλος Rhetorum Praeceptor A Professor of Public Speaking A satire on contemporary oratory.
Ἀλέξανδρος ἢ Ψευδόμαντις Alexander Alexander the False Prophet An account of the fraudulent prophet Alexander of Abonoteichus.
Εἰκόνες Imagines Essays in Portraiture (Images) A eulogy of Panthea, the mistress of the Roman emperor Lucius Verus. Critics have doubted the sincerity of the praise.[6]
*Περὶ τῆς Συρίης Θεοῦ De Syria Dea The Goddesse of Surrye (The Syrian Goddess, often known under the Latin title De Dea Syria) A description of the cult of the goddess Atargatis. Written in Ionic Greek in imitation of Herodotus.
Περὶ Ὀρχήσεως De Saltatione The Dance (Of Pantomime) A defence of the Roman art of pantomime.
Λεξιφάνης Lexiphanes Lexiphanes A satire on linguistic pretentiousness.
Εὐνοῦχος Eunuchus The Eunuch A satire on money-grubbing philosophers.
*Περὶ τῆς Ἀστρολογίας De Astrologia Astrology An essay on astrology in Ionic Greek.
* Ἔρωτες Amores Amores (Affairs of the Heart) A comparison between the love of women and the love of boys.
Ὑπὲρ τῶν Εἰκόνων Pro Imaginibus Essays in Portraiture Defended A defence of his essay.
Ψευδολογιστής Pseudologista The Mistaken Critic Lucian attacks a critic who had accused him of writing poor Attic Greek.
Θεῶν Ἐκκλησία Deorum Concilium The Parliament of the Gods A dialogue in which Momus complains that too many foreigners and mortals have been admitted to the ranks of the Greek gods. His targets include Dionysus, Apis and Anubis.
Τυραννοκτόνος Tyrannicida The Tyrannicide A declamation on a fictitious subject. The speaker had planned to assassinate a tyrant but was only able to kill his son instead. On hearing the news of his son's death, the tyrant committed suicide. The speaker now claims he is owed a reward as a tyrannicide.
Ἀποκηρυττόμενος Abdicatus Disowned Another fictitious declamation, this time about a disowned son.
Περὶ τῆς Περεγρίνου Τελευτῆς De Morte Peregrini The Passing of Peregrinus An account of the death of the former Christian Cynic philosopher Peregrinus Proteus who committed suicide by cremating himself on a funeral pyre at the Olympic Games in 165 AD
Δραπέται Fugitivi The Runaways An attack on contemporary Cynics.
Τόξαρις ἢ Φιλία Toxaris sive Amicitia Toxaris or Friendship A dialogue between the Scythian Toxaris and the Greek Mnesippus about friendship, inspired by the Scythian worship of Orestes and Pylades.
[?] Δημοσθένους Ἐγκώμιον Demosthenis Encomium Demosthenes Praise of the orator Demosthenes.
Πῶς δεῖ Ἱστορίαν συγγράφειν Quomodo Historia conscribenda sit How to Write History Lucian's criticism of contemporary historians.
Περὶ τῶν Διψάδων Dipsades The Dipsads A description of the "dipsas" or "thirst-snake".
Τὰ πρὸς Κρόνον Saturnalia Saturnalia A description of the Roman festival of Saturnalia.
Ἡρόδοτος ἢ Ἀετίων Herodotus Herodotus or Aetion An account of how the historian Herodotus and the painter Aetion both publicised their works at the Olympic Games. It contains a description of Aetion's picture of the marriage of Alexander the Great and Roxana.
Ζεύξις ἢ Ἀντίοχος Zeuxis Zeuxis or Antiochus Anecdotes about the painter Zeuxis and the Seleucid king Antiochus I Soter. It contains a description of a painting of a centaur by Zeuxis.
Ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἐν τῇ Προσαγορεύσει Πταίσματος Pro Lapsu inter salutandum A Slip of the Tongue in Greeting Lucian analyses a slip of the tongue he made when greeting his patron.
Ἀπολογία Apologia Apology for the "Salaried Posts in Great Houses" A defence of his own essay.
Ἁρμονίδης Harmonides Harmonides An anecdote about the flute-player Harmonides.
Διάλογος πρὸς Ἡσίοδον Hesiodus A Conversation with Hesiod Lycinus (Lucian) mocks the prophetic claims of the poet Hesiod.
Σκύθης ἢ Πρόξενος Scytha The Scythian or the Consul The story of the Scythian Toxaris and his visit to Athens. This short work was possibly intended as an introduction to Toxaris or Friendship.
Ποδάγρα Podagra Podagra (Gout) A mock Greek tragedy featuring gout.
Ἑρμότιμος ἢ Περὶ Αἱρέσεων Hermotimus Hermotimus or Concerning the Sects The longest of Lucian's works.[7] A philosophical dialogue, modelled on those of Plato, between an old Stoic, Hermotimus, and Lycinus (who represents Lucian himself).
Πρὸς τὸν εἰπόντα Προμηθεὺς εἶ ἐν λόγοις Prometheus es in Verbis To One Who Said "You're a Prometheus in Words" (A Literary Prometheus) Lucian's defence of his own literary style.
[?] Ἀλκυὼν ἢ Περὶ Μεταμορφώσεων Halcyon Halcyon A description of the mythological bird, the halcyon.
Πλοῖον ἢ Εὐχαί Navigium The Ship or The Wishes The sight of a huge Egyptian grain-ship prompts a discussion among friends about what they most desire. Adeimantus would have the ship filled with gold and live a life of luxury; Samippus would like to be a world-conquering king; Timolaus wants magic powers, including invisibility. After hearing them all, Lycinus (Lucian), says that he is content with the privilege of laughing at the others, especially when they claim to be philosophers.
[?] Ὠκύπους Ocypus Ocypus (Swift-of-Foot) Another mock tragedy.
[?] Κυνικός Cynicus Cynicus (The Cynic) A dialogue between Lycinus (i.e. Lucian) and a Cynic philosopher.
Νεκρικοὶ Διάλογοι Dialogi Mortuorum Dialogues of the Dead 30 miniature dialogues set in the Underworld. Among the most famous of Lucian's works.
Ἐνάλιοι Διάλογοι Dialogi Marini Dialogues of the Sea-Gods 15 miniature dialogues
Θεῶν Διάλογοι Dialogi Deorum Dialogues of the Gods 25 miniature dialogues mocking the Homeric conception of the Greek gods.
Ἑταιρικοὶ Διάλογοι Dialogi Meretricii Dialogues of the Courtesans 15 miniature dialogues between hetairai. The style is influenced by the New Comedy and the mimes of authors such as Herondas.
Definitely spurious works
Ἐπιστολαί Epistulae Letters Collections of letters ascribed to Lucian.
Φιλόπατρις ἢ Διδασκόμενος Philopatris Philopatris (The Patriot) A c. 11th century Byzantine imitation.[8] Controversial because it was once believed to be an attack on Christianity.
Χαρίδημος ἢ Περὶ Κάλλους Charidemus Charidemus A discussion of aesthetics.
Νέρων Nero Nero About the Roman emperor Nero.
Ἐπιγράμματα Epigrammata Epigrams Several epigrams in the Greek Anthology are attributed to Lucian.
Τιμαρίων ἢ Περὶ τῶν κατ' αὐτὸν Παθημάτων Timarion Timarion Another Byzantine imitation, prob. 12th century, possibly later.[9]
Lost works
Σώστρατος Sostratus Sostratus Mentioned by Lucian in Demonax.


  1. ^ See Sidwell pp. xiv–xv
  2. ^ Sidwell p.33
  3. ^ Sidwell p. 241
  4. ^ Sidwell p. 67
  5. ^ Loeb Vol. 3, p. 411
  6. ^ Sidwell pp. 242–243
  7. ^ Costa p. 88
  8. ^ Sidwell p. 350
  9. ^ Sidwell p. 351


  • The works of Lucian in eight volumes, edited and translated by A.M.Harmon, K. Kilburn and M.D. Macleod (Loeb Classical Library, 1913–1967)
  • Luciani Opera, edited by Matthew Donald Macleod, 4 volumes (Oxford Classical Texts, 1972–1987)

Translations into English[edit]


  • Loeb edition by Harmon, Kilburn and Macleod (as above)
  • The Works of Lucian translated by H.W. Fowler and F. G. Fowler, four volumes (Oxford University Press, 1905)


  • Chattering Courtesans and Other Sardonic Sketches translated by Keith Sidwell (Penguin Classics, 2004)
  • Selected Dialogues translated by C. D. N. Costa (Oxford World's Classics, 2006)
  • On the Syrian Goddess, Jane Lightfoot, 2000, OUP, 1989

Secondary sources[edit]

  • The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature ed. M. C. Howatson (Second edition, OUP, 1989)

External links[edit]