The authenticity of Lucian’s perì orchéseos has often been questioned during the twentieth century not for linguistic reasons but because of its intricacy that makes reading and correctly interpreting it challenging. It is an ambiguous work, long regarded as a serious praise of pantomime. This paper analyzes ironic and satirical aspects in order to interpret the author’s intentions: would Lucian simply write a very artificial and comical eulogy, or would he address, from his personal point of view, the fundamental problems concerning Greek identity and culture in 163 AD? This paper is based on a comparison with other works of Lucian, but also with theoretical texts (treaties?) of music, athletics, gymnastics of periods pre- and post- Lucian’s age (Dio of Prusa, pseudo-Plutarch, Aristides Quintilian, Galen, Philostratus). In a humorous and parodic way, Lucian presents problems related to the care of the body and reflects an echo of the debates of his time on the preservation of the past and the values of Hellenism.
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