Daphnis and Chloe

Daphnis and Chloe
Daphnis and Chloe by Jean-Pierre Cortot

Daphnis and Chloe (Greek: Δάφνις καὶ Χλόη, Daphnis kai Chloē) is the only known work of the 2nd century AD Greek novelist and romancer Longus.[1]


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 is the story of a boy (Daphnis) and a girl (Chloe), each of whom is exposed at birth along with some identifying tokens. A goatherd named Lamon discovers Daphnis, and a shepherd called Dryas finds Chloe. Each decides to raise the child he finds as his own. Daphnis and Chloe grow up together, herding the flocks for their foster parents. They fall in love but, being naive, do not understand what is happening to them. Philetas, a wise old cowherd, explains to them what love is and tells them that the only cure is "kissing."[2] They do this. Eventually, Lycaenion, a woman from the city, educates Daphnis in love-making. Daphnis, however, decides not to test his newly acquired skill on Chloe, because Lycaenion tells Daphnis that Chloe "will scream and cry and lie bleeding heavily [as if murdered]."[2] Throughout the book, Chloe is courted by suitors, two of whom (Dorcon and Lampis) attempt with varying degrees of success to abduct her. She is also carried off by raiders from a nearby city and saved by the intervention of the god Pan. Meanwhile, Daphnis falls into a pit, gets beaten up, is abducted by pirates, and is very nearly raped. In the end, Daphnis and Chloe are recognized by their birth parents, get married, and live out their lives in the country.[2][3]


The characters in the novel include:

  • Chloe - the heroine
  • Daphnis - the hero
  • Dorcon - the would-be suitor of Chloe
  • Dionysophanes - Daphnis' master and father
  • Dryas - Chloe's foster father
  • Eros - god of love
  • Lamon - Daphnis' foster father
  • Lycaenion - woman who educates Daphnis in love-making
  • Myrtale - Daphnis' foster mother
  • Nape - Chloe's foster mother
  • Gnathon - the would-be suitor of Daphnis
  • Philetas - old countryman who advises the heroes about love; likely named after Philitas of Cos[4]

Text tradition

Until the beginning of the 19th century, about a page of text was missing; when Paul Louis Courier went to Italy, he found the missing part in one of the plutoni of the Biblioteca Laurenziana in Florence. Unfortunately, as soon as he had copied the text, he upset the ink-stand and poured ink all over the page. The Italian philologists were incensed, especially those who had studied the plutone giving "a most exact description" (un'esattissima notizia) of it.

Influences and adaptations

The first vernacular edition of Daphnis and Chloe was the French version of Jacques Amyot, published in 1559. Along with the Diana of Jorge de Montemayor (published in the same year), Daphnis and Chloe helped inaugurate a European vogue for pastoral fiction in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Daphnis and Chloe was the model of La Sireine of Honoré d'Urfé, the Aminta of Torquato Tasso, and The Gentle Shepherd of Allan Ramsay. The novel Paul et Virginie by Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre echoes the same story.

Jacques Amyot's French translation is perhaps better known than the original. The story has been presented in numerous illustrated editions, including a 1937 limited edition with woodcuts by Aristide Maillol, and a 1977 edition illustrated by Marc Chagall. Another translation that rivals the original is that of Annibale Caro, one of those writers dearest to lovers of the Tuscan elegances.

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. Another work based on it is the 1923 novel Le Blé en herbe by Colette [5].

The 1987 film The Princess Bride contains similarities to Daphnis and Chloe (for example, in both stories the male romantic lead is captured by pirates). Lawrence Rinder, director of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, attributes the inspiration for the film to Longus.[6]




The work was adapted into a 64-minute mute film by Orestis Laskos in 1931, one of the first Greek cinema classics. The movie was originally considered as shocking due to the nudity in some of the scenes

Movie Wikipedia Page (GR Only): http://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%94%CE%AC%CF%86%CE%BD%CE%B9%CF%82_%CE%BA%CE%B1%CE%B9_%CE%A7%CE%BB%CF%8C%CE%B7_(%CF%84%CE%B1%CE%B9%CE%BD%CE%AF%CE%B1)

Movie IMDB Page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0122448/


The work was adapted into a 45-minute radio play by Hattie Naylor, first broadcast at 14:15 on Friday 3 March 2006. 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:

  • Longus ...... Adrian Scarborough
  • Chloe ...... Lyndsey Marshal
  • Daphnis ...... Ben McKay
  • Lamo/Megacles ...... Kim Wall
  • Myrtale/Lycaenium ......Tracy Wiles
  • Philetas/Dionyosophanes ...... Geoffrey Beevers
  • Love/Astylus ...... Simon Trinder
  • Dryas/Gnatho/Lampis ...... Anthony Glennon
  • Original music - Sarah Moody
  • Producer/director Jeremy Mortimer.

See also

Book collection.jpg Novels portal

Other ancient Greek novelists:


  1. ^ It has been suggested that the name "Longus" is merely a misreading of the last word of the title Λεσβιακῶν ἐρωτικῶν λόγοι δ in the Florentine manuscript; Seiler also observes that the best manuscript begins and ends with λόγου (not λόγγου) ποιμενικῶν.
  2. ^ a b c Longus; Xenophon of Ephesus (2009), Henderson, Jeffery, ed., Anthia and Habrocomes (translation), Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, pp. 69 & 127, ISBN 9780674996335 
  3. ^ Blanchfield; Jones, Jamie; Lefler, Carrie. "Longus, Daphnis and Chloefirst1=Kelly". University of North Carolina, Wilmington. http://people.uncw.edu/deagona/ancientnovel/longus.htm. Retrieved 2011-03-01. 
  4. ^ Richard Hunter (1996). "Longus, Daphnis and Chloe". In Gareth L. Schmeling. The Novel in the Ancient World. Brill. pp. 361–86. ISBN 9004096302. 
  5. ^ Fischler, Alexander (1969). "Unity in Colette's Le Blé en Herbe". Modern Language Quarterly 30: 248–264. 
  6. ^ Edelstein, Wendy (March 4, 2009). "In a Galaxy not all that far away...". UC Berkley News. The University of California at Berkley. http://berkeley.edu/news/berkeleyan/2009/03/04_Galaxy.shtml. Retrieved 2011-03-01. 
  7. ^ "John Neumeier". The Hamburg Ballet. www.hamburgballett.de. http://www.hamburgballett.de/e/neumeier.htm. Retrieved 2011-03-01. 

Further reading


  • 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. http://www.archive.org/details/longusliterallyc00longrich. Retrieved 2007-06-22.  With English translation.
  • Edmonds, John Maxwell (1916). Daphnis & Chloe, by Longus; The Love Romances of Parthenius and Other Fragments. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-99076-5.  With English translation revised from that of George Thornley.
  • Dalmeyda, George (1971) [1934]. Pastorales (Daphnis et Chloe) / Longus. Collection des universités de France. Paris: Belles Lettres.  With French translation.
  • Reeve, Michael D. (1994) [1982]. Daphnis et Chloe / Longus. Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana (Editio correctior ed.). Stuttgart: Teubner. ISBN 3815419328.  Reeve's text is reprinted with the translation and commentary by Morgan (see below).

English translations

  • Thornley, George (1657). Daphnis and Chloe: A Most Sweet, and Pleasant Pastorall ROMANCE for Young Ladies. http://members.efn.org/~callen/Daphnis%20and%20Chloe,%201657.txt. Retrieved 2007-08-20.  A revised version is printed with Edmonds's text (see above).
  • Hadas, Moses (1953). Three Greek Romances. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill. ISBN 0-672-60442-6. 
  • Turner, Paul (1989) [1956]. Longus: Daphnis and Chloe. Penguin Classics. Harmondsworth: Penguin. ISBN 0-14-044059-3. 
  • Gill, Christopher (1989). "Longus: Daphnis and Chloe". In Bryan P. Reardon (ed.). Collected Ancient Greek Novels. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. pp. 285–348. ISBN 0-520-04306-5. 
  • McCail, Ronald (2002). Daphnis and Chloe / Longus. Oxford World's Classics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-284052-5. 
  • Morgan, J. R. (2004). Longus: Daphnis and Chloe. Aris and Phillips Classical Texts. Oxford: Oxbow Books. ISBN 0-85668-562-3 (cloth); ISBN 0-85668-563-1 (pbk.).  With reprint of Reeve's text and a commentary.
  • Tyrrell, Wm. Blake (n.d.). "Daphnis and Chloe: A Novel by Longus". http://www.msu.edu/~tyrrell/daphchlo.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-20. 
  • Henderson, Jeffrey (2009). Longus: Daphnis and Chloe / Xenophon of Ephesus: Anthia and Habrocomes. The Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. ISBN 067499633X.  Side-by-side Greek text and English translation.

External links

Editions of the Greek text

  • Longi Pastoralium de Daphnide et Chloe Libri IV Graece et Latine Ed. Christ. Guil. Mitscherlich, Biponti (Zweibrücken), 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

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  • Daphnis and Chloe — or Daphnis and Chloë [daf′nis ənd klō′ē] two lovers in an old Greek pastoral romance of the same name, attributed to Longus ( c. 3d cent. A.D. ) …   English World dictionary

  • Daphnis and Chloe — Daph|nis and Chlo|e , Daphnis and Chloë 1.) an ancient Greek love story about a boy and a girl who are found by ↑shepherds. They grow up in the country, fall in love with each other, and finally get married. 2.) a piece of ↑ballet music based on… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Daphnis and Chloe — 1. two lovers in pastoral literature, esp. in a Greek romance attributed to Longus. 2. (italics) a ballet (1912) with music by Maurice Ravel and scenario and choreography by Michel Fokine. 3. (italics) either of two orchestral suites by Ravel… …   Universalium

  • Daphnis and Chloe — 1. two lovers in pastoral literature, esp. in a Greek romance attributed to Longus. 2. (italics) a ballet (1912) with music by Maurice Ravel and scenario and choreography by Michel Fokine. 3. (italics) either of two orchestral suites by Ravel… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Daphnis and Chloe — two lovers in a Greek pastoral romance …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Daphnis and Chloë — /dæfnəs ən ˈkloʊi/ (say dafnuhs uhn klohee) noun two lovers in pastoral literature, especially in a Greek romance attributed to Longus …   Australian-English dictionary

  • Daphnis et Chloé — This article is about the Fokine ballet to Ravel s music. For the original story, see Daphnis and Chloe. For the operetta by Jacques Offenbach, see Daphnis et Chloé (Offenbach). Set design for the world premiere of the ballet Daphnis et Chloë… …   Wikipedia

  • Daphnis und Chloe — Léon Bakst: Bühnenbild für das Ballett Daphnis et Chloë von Ravel, 1912 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Daphnis und Chloë — Léon Bakst: Bühnenbild für das Ballett Daphnis et Chloë von Ravel, 1912 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Daphnis et Chloé (disambiguation) — Daphnis et Chloé is the name of two classical compositions based on the story of Daphnis and Chloe: Daphnis et Chloé: ballet with music by Maurice Ravel Daphnis et Chloé (Offenbach): operetta by Jacques Offenbach This disambiguation page lists… …   Wikipedia

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