Daphnis and Chloe

Daphnis and Chloe (Δαφνιν και Χλοην, Daphnin kai Chloēn) is the only known work of the 2nd century AD Greek novelist and romancer Longus.

Setting and style

It is set on the isle of Lesbos during the 2nd century AD, which is also assumed to be the author's home. Its style is rhetorical and pastoral, its shepherds and shepherdesses are wholly conventional, but the author imparts human interest to this idealized world. Daphnis and Chloe resembles a modern novel more than does its chief rival among Greek erotic romances, the Aethiopica of Heliodorus, which is remarkable more for its plot than its characterization.

Plot summary

Daphnis and Chloe, two children found by shepherds, grow up together, nourishing a mutual love which neither suspects. The development of their passion forms the chief interest, and there are few incidents. Chloe is carried off by a pirate, and ultimately regains her family. Rivals trouble Daphnis' peace of mind; but the two lovers are recognized by their parents, and return to a happy married life in the country.


The human characters in the novel include:

  • Chloe - The heroine
  • Daphnis - The hero
  • Dorcon - The would-be suitor of Chloe
  • Dryas - Chloe's foster father
  • Eros - god of love
  • Lamon - Daphnis' foster father
  • Myrtale - Daphnis' foster mother
  • Nape - Chloe's foster mother
  • Philetas - old countryman who advises the heroes about love; likely named after Philitas of Cos

Reception and influences

Daphnis and Chloe was the model of La Sireine of Honoré d'Urfé, the Diana enamorada of Jorge de Montemayor, the Aminta of Torquato Tasso, and The Gentle Shepherd of Allan Ramsay. The novel Paul et Virginie echos the same story. Also, Maurice Ravel based his ballet, Daphnis et Chloé, on the story.

The French translation, as prepared by Jacques Amyot, bishop of Auxerre and revised by Paul Louis Courier, is perhaps better known than the original. It appeared in 1559. The story has been prepared in numerous illustrated editions, including a 1937 limited edition with woodcuts by Aristide Maillol, and a 1977 edition illustrated by Marc Chagall.

The 1952 work Shiosai (The Sound of the Waves), written by the well-known Japanese writer Yukio Mishima following a visit to Greece, is considered to have been inspired by the Daphnis and Chloe myth.

The Princess Bride also incorporates elements of the story in the romance between Wesley and Princess Buttercup, although it is Wesley who is abducted by the Dread Pirate Roberts.

Adaptation (2006)

The work was adapted into a 45-minute radio play by Hattie Naylor, first broadcast at 14:15 on Friday 3 March 2006, BBC Radio 3 This broadcast was repeated as the Afternoon Play 14:15 on Wednesday 27 June 2007, and made available for streaming download for 7 days on the BBC Radio Four, Afternoon Play Webpage

It was played for comedy, with the sexual encounters preceded by 'I must speak in Latin!' and each dream-sleep preceded by a sudden comic thud. The cast were as follows-

See also

Other ancient Greek novelists:


Further reading


English translations

External links

Editions of the Greek text

  • ''Longi Pastoralium de Daphnide et Chloe Libri IV Graece et Latine Ed. Christ. Guil. Mitscherlich, Biponti (Zweibrucken), 1794.
  • Longi Pastoralia First complete Greek text of Daphnis and Chloe, edited by P.-L. Courier, with a Latin translation by G. R. Lud. de Sinner. Paris, 1829.
  • Longi Pastoralia Greek text of Daphnis and Chloe with a Latin translation, edd. Seiler, Schaefer, Boissonade & Brunck. Leipzig, 1843.
  • Erotici Scriptores Paris, 1856, pp. 739. Longi Pastoralia, Greek text with Latin translation, edited by G A Hirschig, pp. 174-222.
  • Daphnis and Chloe The Bibliotheca Classica Selecta's 2006-2007 edition of the Greek text with the French translation of Jacques Amyot revised, corrected and completed by P.-L. Courier.

Synopses, Analyses, and Other Studies

Art inspired by Daphnis and Chloe

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