Ancient biographies give in sight to specific time period teaching class scructure and conformed to the standards different than the etiquette of today. For example in love poetry it was customary for the poet to refer to the beloved by nickname. In the case of Lycoris her life was well documented by various sources because of the fame of her lovers the reason for her fame.

Lycoris the MimeEdit

Lycoris was born a slave likely around 70 B.C. and from Hellenic origins, her career as a mime started at a young age. (Fraschetti, 84) A mime is a semi literary genre of the theater which reaches its height in popularity during and appreciated by the ruling classes. Lycoris lived a lavished life style that is not customary for a slave because of her many famous lovers, some of the key figures being Gallus, Brutus, and Mark Antony aiding in her biography for historians could follow her traces. Lycoris was freed by Volumnius Eutrapelus which rid her of the obligations of a slave and perhaps prostitution. (Fraschetti, 88) Though as a freedwoman she still was obligated to former master, now patron, this entailed giving free performances for Eutrapelus and his friends as well as showing her loyalty by becoming the mistress of powerful men whom he associated with. (Fraschetti, 89) Freeing her was not out of kindness as much as using her for his own political benefit because it allowed him to introduce her into society. This allowed him to use her beauty to please other politicians and raise his status among them.

Biographical ContextEdit

The biography of Lycoris the Mime is written in an interesting way it is not structured as a traditional biography of a famous person today. It is broken up into ten different sections first discussing where the information was discovered and how that plays a role in understanding the life of Lycoris. The text is vague details of her life, often even theory due to the lack of sufficient evidence when dealing with such old history. Through the style of writing Giusto deduces the approximate time and therefore a better understanding of how she likely lived. This allows the Giusto to go into time by deducing specific details which are already known for a better understanding context of the time period. One way in which Giusto does this is describing what a slave was treated like during that time period and common policy regarding slaves, freed slaves, and mimes. In that sense it is entirely different from a biography of someone who is currently living or from recent history. It reveals a common thread with today’s politicians, now we don’t win favor from other politicians with concubines but through lobbyist in a capitalist government. If Lycoris the Mime was written in the same style as Diogenes Laertius the story would have been structed totally differently. It would sound more like a story of her life rather then bits and pieces. Giusto is writting a modern historical understanding of life then a story of how person acted in their own life and conversations they said. For example in one conversation it talks about Diogenes wearing out Antisthenes to become his pupil because he never welcomed pupils Diogenes said "Strike, for you will find no wood hard enough to keep me away from you, so long as I think you've somehting to say (Diogenes Laertius 25)." If the Lycoris the Mime was written this manner it would have been comepletly different perspective of how Lycoris life for we would see it through here interactions with the many lovers and how she felt about it and them. There would be a better understand of what she felt and wether she felt she was a prostitute or enjoyed it. For Diogenes does not just say what happened he goes in depth and explains the nuances of persons personality which tells the story of what it would have been like to step into their shoes. Diogenes makes sure that you truly know the person as if the reader was having a conversation with them. If Diogenes were to write Lycoris the Mime it would sound something along theses lines “She moved as her former master pleased and followed orders even though he was technically a freed slave. She would discuss with Anthony about how she felt about political topics and here input on issues possibly.” It also would discuss how and in what way specifically her relations with other politician would aid her former master as in what they would do in return for her. It would truly tell the advantages to having a free slave had you used essential as a prostitute during the time of Rome. Therefore we would then be able to draw a correlation between the difference of slaves in America before the civil and a slave during the time of Rome which would have been an intriguing question whether over time slaves became treated more humane or not. Also if Lycoris the Mime was written in the style of Diogenes we would understand Lycoris everyday life and not have a general overview of the history of that time things she is connected to such as Anthony. But rather it would be a much different and more informative tale of free women slave and what her daily life and how she was handled by her former master. For example we would truly understand the relationship between Lycoris and Volumnius. In doing so we would know how Lycoris felt about being a freed slave and what this truly meant and how she was expected to act in society. There would have been a clear understanding of what that would have been like and therefore to come to dictions on our thoughts about of what we would have felt like to be there during that time period as a freed slave. As seen in Diogenes “You will come back a worse man. When he came back and said next day, I went and am none the worse for it, Diogenes said (Diogenes Laertius 60).” If Lycoris the Mime was written somewhat similar to this it would read Lycoris might be told by Volumnius you will come back a worse women and she might say I am none the worse for it I enjoyed it and he treats me better than you ever have. That is the difference between the styles of writing we would hear firsthand what Lycoris felt and how she would have conversed with people of the time. This would have given a far superior understand of her life and the intricacies with being used for by high up political official and if that was much different from a normal prostitute. We would understand how she would have acted with all her lovers and what that would change in her life also how she moved from one person to the next and its effects on Volumnius.

Compared to Diogenes LaertiusEdit

Compared to Diogenes Laertius lives of prominent philosophers is a totally different style than Lycoris the Mime. For it was written during the time period and not hundreds of years after the fact, it is more specific and detailed. But since it is so old the reader must have background knowledge of the time period to truly understand the biography. Also since it is a translation many details are lost that would have been apparent in the original language so it is difficult to catch the nuances of the biography. Although it is more specific for it is direct quotes giving a better understanding of how the people truly thought, what they believed, and how they acted. Through direct quotes we get the true witness and personality of the people and the jokes they play on friends as when Diogenes says “I trampled on Plato’s vangory.” (Hicks, 29)The story of Lycoris is different in that regard it is not so much a biography of Lycoris rather a history lesson of how women slaves were treated and used by well to do men of the time. To fully understand a persons biography it is much easier to read things they actually said and believed to know them as a person. Though by writing in this style one must have the knowledge to translate to get the best meaning possible because meaning is lost in translation and time.


Each biography gets the point across but in an extremely different way for the obvious reason of being written when they were alive or years after. Both have their own story to tell but tell an extremely different story. Diogenes is personal and relates to a person today but it also takes more work to understand because a grasp of the language can extremely change the meaning. Also the reader must know much more previously about the time in order to understand the intricate and sly wit of the philosophers. While Roman Women tells more about what was going on at the time in a more general sense its more about the big picture of a person Lycoris would be treated and leaves more speculation. It tells more about how Lycoris a slave affected some of the most well-known people in history not about her beliefs or thoughts.

Isaiah Carpenter (Project 1, Part 2)

Tyler explains how Lycoris was able to overcome her awful circumstances and thrive in an era full of rich and important people. He explains that her former master might have used her for improper deeds, such as prostitution. But through her profession and connects she was able to live a lavish life. Tyler attempts to explain how Diogenes would have written the biography, but his major focus is on the time period in which these individuals wrote the biographies. I believe that the certain eras made a slight difference in the way these individuals might have thought about the world and about certain ideals. But Diogenes was a much deeper thinker and would have composed Lycoris's biography much differently.

Diogenes was a simple philosopher, he focused on bettering himself and everyone around him. He questioned the lives of individuals just to get them to think about their own lives. "One day he shouted out for men, and when people collected, hit out at them with his stick, saying, It was men I called for, not scoundrels" (Diogenes, 35). Diogenes did not focus on the material things in the world. When teaching his pupils he made them cut off their hair and drink and eat as little as possible. His purpose was to teach his pupils to live in hardship and to understand others who are living in distress. Diogenes like his fellow associates believed that one should not fret on what they cannot do, but one should praise God for the ability to be such great beings. Diogenes once stated, "He used also to say that when he saw physicians, philosophers and pilots at their work, he deemed man the most intelligent of all animals; but when again he saw interpreters of dreams and diviners and those who attended to the, or those who were puffed up with conceit wealth, he thought no animal more silly" (Diogenes, 27). Diogenes would focus more on the character of the person being discussed, and not their overall actions. Lycoris was a slave by birth, and due to this she was forced into prostitution and many other awful deeds. Diogenes would not judge her due to her actions, but on her character and her ability to succeed.

Tyler was unable to explain how Diogenes would have written Lycoris's biography. Like I previously explained, he would have depicted the characteristics of Lycoris before explaining her immoral deeds. Instead of focusing the biography on the ideals and social expectations of a mime in that era. Diogenes would have explained how brave and respectable it was for a former slave to overcome her dilemma and rise in the social class. However, he would have also ridiculed her for performing all of these actions for material goods such as money and fame. Diogenes is a type of writer and person who will focus on both negative aspects of an individuals life and the positive aspects. The only difference between him and the author of Lycoris the Mime is that Diogenes has no reason explaining the overall actions of each individual. He focuses on how each action makes the person feel and how others would react to them. He attempts to show the reader the morality of his subjects. This is the major difference in Diogenes's writings, he cares about the morality of an individual and not about material things and stories.