Lucian's Dialogues Volume 3: The Dialogues of the Dead

Lucian of Samosata (c. 125 - c. 180)
Translated by Howard Williams (1837 - 1931)

Dialogues of the Dead are 30 miniature dialogues mocking the Homeric conception of the Greek gods, originally written in Attic Greek by Syrian author Lucian of Samosata. Almost 1900 years old, these dialogues still retain a lot of their original humor and wit. - Summary by Foon
The cast list for dialogues with 3 or more readers is given below:

Dialogue 2:
Kroesus: Lynette Caulkins
Pluto: Alan Mapstone
Midas: David Purdy
Sardanapalus: TriciaG
Menippus: Adrian Stephens

Dialogue 3:
Menippus: Adrian Stephens
Amphilochus: Alan Mapstone
Trophonius: Jake Malizia

Dialogue 10:
Charon: Algy Pug
Hermes: ToddHW
Dead Man: David Purdy
Menippus: Adrian Stephens
Charmolaus: TriciaG
Lampichus: Lynette Caulkins
Damasias: Larry Wilson
Kraton: Anna Maria
General: Alex Steele
Philosopher: Alan Mapstone
Orator: Availle

Dialogue 12:
Alexander: Mike Manolakes
Hannibal: Jake Malizia
Minos: Larry Wilson
Scipio: David Purdy

Dialogue 19:
Aeakus: ToddHW
Protesilaus: Alex Steele
Menelaus: Alan Mapstone
Paris: Tchaikovsky
Dialogue 20:

Menippus: Adrian Stephens
Aeakus: ToddHW
Pythagoras: David Purdy
Empedokles: Alan Mapstone
Sokrates: Tchaikovsky

Dialogue 22:
Charon: Algy Pug
Menippus: Adrian Stephens
Hermes: ToddHW

Dialogue 23:
Protesilaus: Alex Steele
Pluto: Alan Mapstone
Persephone: Nichalia Schwartz

Dialogue 25:
Nireus: Alan Mapstone
Thersites: David Purdy
Menippus: Adrian Stephens

Dialogue 27:
Diogenes: ToddHW
Antisthenes: Anna Maria
Krates: Alan Mapstone
Poor Man: David Purdy

Audio edited by Availle and Linette Geisel

Genre(s): Classics (Greek & Latin Antiquity), Dramatic Readings, Satire

Language: English

Group: Dialogues of Lucian of Samosata

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 Dialogue I. Diogenes commissions Polydeukes, about to return to the upper world, to inform Menippus of the actual condition of things in the land of shades, and to deliver admonitory messages to various sorts of men-the rich, the powerful, the proud; and, finally, to the poor, whom, when they complain of their lot on Earth, he is to console by representing the complete equality which prevails in the regions of the dead. ToddHW
Alan Mapstone
Play 02 Dialogue II. Eroesus, Midas, and Sardanapalus complain to Pluto of Menippus that he derides them for their lamentations over the loss of the power, wealth, and luxury which belonged to them on Earth. - Menippus, in spite of Pluto's remonstrances, persists in his ridicule. Group 00:04:06
Play 03 Dialogue III. Menippus ridicules the Oracles of Trophonius and Amphilochus. Group 00:03:02
Play 04 Dialogue IV. Hermes demands from Charon arrears of payment due to him for his services on the styx. Charon excuses himself on the plea of bad times; no great war or famine, as it happened, ravaging the Earth at that moment. Hermes moralises on the causes of death, different from those of old, which despatch men in crowds to Hades. Algy Pug
Play 05 Dialogue V. Pluto directs Hermes to bring him the fortune and legacy-hunters and flatterers of a certain rich man, and to suffer the latter to outlive his fawning satellites. ToddHW
Alan Mapstone
Play 06 Dialogue VI. Terpsion, a legacy-hunter, accuses Pluto and the Fates in that, although only thrity years of age, they had caused hime to predecease the object of his theder regards, the millionaire nonagenarian, Thukritus. Pluto convinces Terpsion of the injustice of his accusation; and the legacy-hunter consoles himself in the prospect of being soon joined in Hades by his late rivals on Earth. Alan Mapstone
Lynette Caulkins
Play 07 Dialogue VII. Zenophantes and Kallidemides, two parasites, bewail one to the other their fates, in having been in the midst of their scheming unexpectedly mismissed to Hades. Killidemides, in particular, recounts the pleasant manner in which he brought about his own death. Alan Mapstone
Anna Maria
Play 08 Dialogue VIII. Knemon, a legacy-hunter, laments to his neighbour Damnippus, that, whereas he had publicly, in his will, bequeathed all his wealth to the millionaire Hermolaus, in the expectation that the latter would reciprocate the benefit, he, the speculating testator, by his sudden death, had been frustrated of all his hopes, and besides, had left his family destitute. Alan Mapstone
David Purdy
Play 09 Dialogue IX. Polystratus, a centenarian plutocrat, upon arriving in hades, narrates to his friend Simylus how, by reason of his great wealth, he had enjoyed the adulation of the world and an abundance of gifts from speculating flatterers, and how he had disappointed them all by his will. TriciaG
Alan Mapstone
Play 10 Dialogue X. An alarming number of ghosts crowd to the styx. Charon, fearing fro his boat, directs Hermes to see that they were entirely stripped of their various insignia of power, rank, wealth, and the weighty load of vices, before they are admitted on board. Menippus, who is one of the passengers, avails himself of the opportunity for ridiculing and railing at the bewailing ghosts. Group 00:15:19
Play 11 Dialogue XI. Krates and Diogenes, meeting in Hades, indulge their satire on the subject of the fates of two millionaire merchants (cousins) who had been constantly plotting, in the usual manner, each for the other's legacy, and who had both perished on the same day by shipwreck. The two eminent cynics congratulate themselves on the recollection of the very different character of their own objects in life. ToddHW
Alan Mapstone
Play 12 Dialogue XII. Alexander of Macedon and Hannibal, quarrelling for precedence, submit the arbitrament of their cause to Minos. Each recounts his exploits. Scipio, the conqueror of Carthage, intervenes, and pronounces in favour of Alexander, claiming the second place for himself, and assigning the third place to Hannibal. Group 00:10:15
Play 13 Dialogue XIII. Diogenes jeers at Alexander of Macedon for his late pretensions to divinity, at the same time satirizing the servile attitude of the conquered Greek states towards him. He proceeds to remind the arrogant Conqueror of all this vain power and glory, and casts large part of the blame on Alexander's preceptor Aristotle, for flattering and fostering the pride and ambition of his pupil. Diogenes, finally, recommends the dead Potentate to drink the waters of the river Lethe. ToddHW
Mike Manolakes
Play 14 Dialogue XIV. Philip, King of Macedon, ridicules his son Alexander's absurd arrogance in claiming to the the son of Ammon, and calls in question the greatness of his military achievements. Alexander defends himself. Mike Manolakes
Alex Steele
Play 15 Dialogue XV. Antilochus, the son of Nestor (one of the Greek heroes who fell during the siege of Ilium), remonstrates whith his friend Achilleus for having given utterance to the words put into his mouth by the poet of the Odyssey-that he would rather be a slave on Earth than King in Hades-shows hime the uselessness of regrets in the under-world, and, at the same time, attempts to console him with the reflection that he is far from being alone in his fate. Achilleus takes the admonition of his friend in good part, but refuses to be comforted. Alan Mapstone
David Purdy
Play 16 Dialogue XVI. Diogenes, the cynic, expresses his astonishment to Herakles at seeing the son of Zeus in Hades, like the rest. That hero pretends that his actual self is in Heaven, while it is his eidolon, or phantom, which is among the dead. ToddHW
Alan Mapstone
Play 17 Dialogue XVII. Menippus derides the fable and fate of Tantalus. ToddHW
Adrian Stephens
Play 18 Dialogue XVIII. Menippus desires Hermes to point out to him the beautiful women and handsome men celebrated by the poets. Hermes showes him the ghosts of the most famous of them, and, in particular, that of Helene. Menippus cynicaly expresses his astonishment that a bare skull should have caused a great war, and the deaths of so many thousands. ToddHW
Adrian Stephens
Play 19 Dialogue XIX. Protesilaus, one of the victims of the Trojan War, seeks to avenge himself by an assult on Helene - Aeakus, gatekeeper and one of the high court of justice in Hades, reminds him that it is Menelaus, the Commander-in-Chief of the Achaean Army against Ilium, who is the proper object of his vengeance. Menelaus shifts the responsibility to the shoulders of Paris. Paris lays the blame upon Eros. Aeakus decides that Protesilaus has only himslef to blame for preferring military glory to a young and beautiful wife; but concedes to Protesilaus that the blame, in the last resort, lies with the Fates. Group 00:04:04
Play 20 Dialogue XX. Aeakus, at the especial request of Menippus, introduces him to the ghosts of the most celebrated potentates of antiquity, when the cynic avails himself of this opportunity for ridicule and derision. Menippus is next introduced to the most famous philosophers, whom he treats with not much greater consideration. The dialogue concludes with the interview with Sokrates, whoes foibles, real or pretended, are made the subject of satire. Group 00:07:54
Play 21 Dialogue XXI. Menippus inquires of Kerberus, the canine guardian of the enterance to Hades, as to the demenour of Sokrates upon his first arrival there. ToddHW
Adrian Stephens
Play 22 Dialogue XXII. Charon demands from Menippus his accustomed fee. Upon the absolute refusal of the cynic to pay, a lively altercation ensues. Group 00:03:38
Play 23 Dialogue XXIII. Protesilaus, an Achaean hero, who had fallen before Ilium, supplicates Pluto to permit him to return to life, for a day, to visit his wife Laodameia, and adduces as precedents the examples of Orpheus and Alkestis. At the intercession of Persephone, Pluto at length grants the favour. Group 00:04:58
Play 24 Dialogue XXIV. Diogenes demands of Mausolus, the Karian Satrap, the reason of his arrogance and pride, and ridicules the vanity of his grandeur and power on Earth, and, in particular, the uselessness to him of his magnificent tomb at Halikarnassus. He concludes his diatribe with contrasting his own complete ignorance and indifference in regaud even to the manner, or place, of his own sepulture. ToddHW
Alan Mapstone
Play 25 Dialogue XXV. Nireus and Thersites, disputing which of them was the more distinguished by good looks, appeeal to Menippus. Menippus, disregarding the authority of Homer, pronounces the ι΄σοκα΄λλος as well as the ι΄σοτι΄μι΄α in Hades, to be as complete as it in unalterable. Group 00:03:27
Play 26 Dialogue XXVI. Cheiron imparts to Menippus his reason for preferring Hades to Heaven and immortality. ToddHW
Adrian Stephens
Play 27 Dialogue XXVII. The philosophers Diogenes, Antisthenes, and Krates resolve to make for the entrance to Orcus, to observe the quality of conduct of the new arrivals. On the way they entertain themselves with recounting their several experiences of the behaviour of their travelling companions to Hades. Upon their arrival at their destination, Diogenes interrogates a poor man as to the cause of his lamentation. Group 00:11:17
Play 28 Dialogues XXVIII. Menippus ridicules the story of the prophet Teiresias as found in the poets and theologiests, and, in particular, his metamorphosis into a woman. ToddHW
Adrian Stephens
Play 29 Dialogue XXIX. Agamemnon inquires of (Telamonian) Aias the reason of his late cool reception of Odysseus, when he came down to learn the future from Teiresias. Aias justifies his hostile feeling by alleging the conduct of Odysseus to him, in the matter of the competition for the arms of Achilleus. ToddHW
Alan Mapstone
Play 30 Dialogue XXX. Sostratus, for his crimes, about to be consigned by Minos to the tortures of Tartarus, protests against the injustice of his sentence; since, upon the admissions of his judge himself, he had been a mere instrument in the hands of fate. Minos, moved by the plausibility of his plea, reprives him. Larry Wilson
David Purdy