The pureness of a pastoral novel: about Daphnis and Chloë by Longus

What would it be to live without electricity? It is hard to imagine a quick check on Facebook or other social media platform wouldn’t have been a part of our daily life. Only the fields, flower gardens, the never-ending care of a herdsman’s flock and the love (kept secret or admitted) for each other. This is exactly what I adore in Daphnis and Chloë.

Daphnis and Chloë is an Ancient Greek (pastoral/love) novel written by Longus in the Roman Empire, second century AD. The story is set on the Greek isle in Lesbos when a boy (Daphnis) and a girl (Chloë) were abandoned since birth with only a few identifying signs with them. Daphnis was nurtured by a goat , Chloë by a sheep until two shepherds, called Lamon and Dryas found the abandoned babies separately from each other. The goatherd Lamon as well as the shepherd Dryas decided to care and raise the foundlings. So it happened that Daphnis and Chloë grew up together herding the flocks of their foster parents. They fell in love with each other and naive as they were, did not understand what was happening to them. While assuming they were both sick, they went searching for a remedy and did not find one until the very moment an old shepherd named Philetas decided to give them some advice as it was clear to him the youth was chosen for being together as a couple by the god of the wilderness named Pan, the god of love and desire Eroos and the nymphs. Philetas’ advice for their so-called sickness consisted of discovering physical aspect of love. I will not spoil the rest of the story in case you would like to read it yourself.

In my opinion, their respect for nature by herding their flocks, celebrating the seasons and garlanding the nymphs add more value to the story because the characters worship life in such a different manner, a much more pure way as we do today.

A short side note; we all have heard about the well known and immortal couple Romeo and Juliet (in arts of course, we all know what happened to them). Daphnis and Chloë became even illustrious as Romeo and Juliet. Personally, I hadn’t heard about Daphnis and Chloë until I had to read a fragment from Daphnis and Chloë for my Greek course.

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