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
, 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
, which is remarkable more for its plot than its characterization.
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.
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-
Other ancient Greek novelists:
- Columbani, Raphael; Henry Cuffe and Marcello Adriani (1598). Longi Pastoralium, de Daphnide & Chloë libri quatuor. Florence: Apud Philippum Iunctam. The first printed edition.
- Courier, Paul Louis (1810). Contained a previously unknown passage, after the discovery of a new manuscript.
- Athenian Society (1896). Longus, literally and completely translated from the Greek. Athens: Privately printed. With English translation.
- Edmonds, John Maxwell (1916). Daphnis & Chloe, by Longus; The Love Romances of Parthenius and Other Fragments. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. With English translation revised from that of George Thornley.
- Dalmeyda, George (1971). Pastorales (Daphnis et Chloe) / Longus. Paris: Belles Lettres. With French translation.
- Reeve, Michael D. (1994). Daphnis et Chloe / Longus. Editio correctior, Stuttgart: Teubner. Reeve's text is reprinted with the translation and commentary by Morgan (see below).
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
- "A Synopsis of Longus' Daphnis and Chloe" by Jean Alvares
- An Introduction to Daphnis and Chloe Written by Kelly Blanchfield, Jamie Jones, and Carrie Lefler.
- Chirping Cicadas and Singing Crickets An article - written from the standpoint of a cultural entomologist - by Herbert Weidner, Hamburg, Germany.
- Daphnis and Chloe: Its influence on art and its impact on Goethe An entry in the Encyclopedia of World Biography which also notes the work done by William E. McCulloh, Emeritus Professor of Classics at Kenyon College, Ohio, in dating Daphnis and Chloe.
- Longus: Life, Influence & Bibliography An entry in the Encyclopedia of the Ancient World.
- J. C. Dunlop's History of Fiction London, 1888, vol. 1, pp. 45-57.
Art inspired by Daphnis and Chloe