The term ‘fiction’ poses many challenges to the student of literature because of its vagueness and the different use to which it is put by each scholar. The term may encompass narratives that do not conform to the conventions of realism, that are patently fantastic or, according to Genette, ‘intransitive’ (in Byzantium, that would include various Lucianic satires such as the Timarion and Mazaris; translations from Arabic texts such as Stephanites and Ichnelates and Syntipas; the romance novels; and narrations whose protagonists are animals). Or else it may encompass narratives that present a realistic world but recreate it in such a way as to reveal the deeper causes of events, to instruct, satirise, or merely entertain, according to the Aristotelian distinction between history and myth (for example, didactic vitae of saints and secular heroes, and most satire). 1