This paper deals with the highly debated question of the meaning of the
ancient Greek novel in its contemporary society. In research of the past decades,
two main approaches have been used to tackle this issue but they both lead
to a deadlock. That is why this paper proposes a literary-theoretical approach
to the problem. Based on the notion - formulated in modern literary theory
- that literature can be regarded as a form of cognition, it argues that and
clarifies the ways in which the ancient Greek novel probably had a specific
meaning and function in the first centuries A.D.