To cite this article:
Segers, Hannelore. "The Apple in Longus’ Lesvos: Sapphic Imagery in the Poetic Space of Daphnis and Chloe.” Classics@ 16. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies, 2017.
The Apple in Longus’ Lesvos: Sapphic Imagery in the Poetic Space of Daphnis and Chloe
Sapphic imagery is abundant in the novel Daphnis and Chloe written by Longus in the second century CE. When Gregory of Corinth refers to the following images used by Sappho and Anacreon, we recognize the same imagery in Longus as well: “οἷον τὰ Ἀνακρέοντος, τὰ Σαπφοῦς, οἷον γάλακτος λευκοτέρα, ὕδατος ἁπαλωτέρα, πηκτίδων ἐμμελεστέρα, ἵππου γαυροτέρα, ῥόδων ἁβροτέρα, ἱματίου ἑανοῦ μαλακωτέρα, χρυσοῦ τιμιωτέρα.”  However, nowhere is the Sapphic intertextuality as clear as in Book 3.33.4. This climactic passage of the novel, which takes place on the picturesque Greek island of Lesvos, meticulously and directly imitates a passage by Sappho known to us as fragment 105a and prominently featuring a γλυκύμαλον or a sweet apple. As Bowie mentions in the introduction to his paper on the intertextuality of Theocritus and Sappho in Longus, exploring Longus’ debt to these authors is “well-trodden territory”;  however, by approaching the text from an alternative perspective, I believe it is possible to find additional meaning in the use of the apple as a poetic image in the text.
First, I will reappraise passage 3.33.4 and compare and contrast it with Sappho’s original passage, 105a. A similar image of the apple occurs in numerous instances throughout Longus’ novel; however, these occurrences have surprisingly not been examined before in relation to Sapphic imagery, and therefore it might be instructive to take a closer look at them. Subsequent to this, it will be necessary to take a closer look at these other attestations and discuss whether they have similar connotations to the one presented by the apple in 3.33.4. Additionally, I will ascertain whether they should also be considered references to Sapphic poetry, or to the contrary, whether these images of apples represent a different tradition and should thus be interpreted separately from the Sapphic context of fragment 105a. Finally, examining the findings of the first two parts of this paper will allow us to understand how this specific symbol of Sapphic imagery interacts with the dynamics of the poetics of space in Longus.
While dissecting the texts, it should be borne in mind that even though the image of the Sapphic apple will be the central focus of this discussion and seems to be a prominent symbol for the island, the Greek word employed to denote the fruit is not void of any ambiguity. Indeed, not only is the island of Lesvos primarily associated with other fruits such as the pomegranate, the pear, and the quince in modern literature,  the Greek word μῆλον may additionally refer to any soft-skinned tree-fruit, which can be further qualified by adjectives such as persikon and armeniakon, which specify the fruit as respectively peach and apricot.  This ambiguity notwithstanding, Mason argues that both Lesvian authors’ emphasis on “the sweetness [of the apple] ... helps define the fruit they describe as an apple.” 
1. Comparing Longus 3.33.4 and Sappho 105a
As mentioned above, the most striking example of Sapphic imagery imitated by Longus in his novel is certainly the following scene featuring the Sapphic apple at the end of the third book of Daphnis and Chloe:
καὶ ἓν μῆλον ἐλέλειπτο ἐν αὐτοῖς ἄκροις ἀκρότατον, μέγα καὶ καλὸν καὶ τῶν πολλῶν τὴν εὐωδίαν ἐνίκα μόνον: ἔδεισεν ὁ τρυγῶν ἀνελθεῖν, ἠμέλησε καθελεῖν: τάχα δὲ καὶ ἐφύλαττε τὸ καλὸν μῆλον ἐρωτικῷ ποιμένι. Τοῦτο τὸ μῆλον ὡς εἶδεν ὁ Δάφνις, ὥρμα τρυγᾶν ἀνελθὼν καὶ Χλόης κωλυούσης ἠμέλησεν: ἡ μὲν ἀμεληθεῖσα, ὀργισθεῖσα πρὸς τὰς ἀγέλας ἀπῆλθε: Δάφνις δὲ ἀναδραμὼν ἐφίκετο τρυγῆσαι καὶ ἐκόμισε δῶρον Χλόῃ καὶ λόγον τοιόνδ̓ εἶπεν ὠργισμένῃ ‘ὦ παρθένε, τοῦτο τὸ μῆλον ἔφυσαν Ὧραι καλαὶ καὶ φυτὸν καλὸν ἔθρεψε πεπαίνοντος ἡλίου, καὶ ἐτήρησε Τύχη. Καὶ οὐκ ἔμελλον αὐτὸ καταλιπεῖν ὀφθαλμοὺς ἔχων, ἵνα πέσῃ χαμαὶ καὶ ἢ ποίμνιον αὐτὸ πατήσῃ νεμόμενον ἢ ἑρπετὸν φαρμάξῃ συρόμενον ἢ χρόνος δαπανήσῃ κείμενον. Βλεπόμενον ἐπαινούμενον. Τοῦτο Ἀφροδίτη κάλλους ἔλαβεν ἆθλον: τοῦτο ἐγὼ σοὶ δίδωμι νικητήριον. Ὁμοίως ἔχομεν τοὺς σοὺς μάρτυρας: ἐκεῖνος ἦν ποιμήν, αἰπόλος ἐγώ.
Longus Daphnis and Chloe 3.33.4–34.3We can compare the first three lines of the abovementioned passage to the original fragment by Sappho taken from her epithalamia or wedding songs.  This passage also describes a beautiful sweet apple reddening (ἐρεύθομαι) on the highest branches of a tree, where it has been left because the apple pickers could not reach it:
Οἶον τὸ γλυκύμαλον ἐρεύθεται ἄκρῳ ἐπ᾽ ὔσδῳ
ἄκρον ἐπ᾽ ἀκροτάτῳ λελάθοντο δὲ μαλοδρόπνες,
οὐ μὰν ἐκλελάθοντ᾽ ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἐδύναντ᾽ ἐπίκεσθαι
ἄκρον ἐπ᾽ ἀκροτάτῳ λελάθοντο δὲ μαλοδρόπνες,
οὐ μὰν ἐκλελάθοντ᾽ ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἐδύναντ᾽ ἐπίκεσθαι
Besides taking note of the rather obvious similarities between these two passages, it is important to note their dissimilarities as well. There are two such striking dissimilarities. First, in Longus there is only one apple picker whereas in Sappho there are several. This may reinforce the contrast between Daphnis and the apple picker as two individuals. Additionally, and because of this contrast, a more generalizing tone is elicited by the image in Sappho. Second, the reasons for which the apple pickers leave the apple hanging on the tree are quite different. In Sappho, the apple pickers were simply unable to pick the apple, and in consequence, the fragment emphasizes the elusive purity of the young bride evoked by the apple image.  However, in Longus, there appear to be three different reasons for which the apple is not picked: the apple picker was afraid to climb that high, the apple picker did not care to pluck it,  and lastly—and most importantly—he had left it for an ἐρωτικῷ ποιμένι. The last choice appears to be most relevant to Longus’ story and applies directly to Daphnis. Longus implies that the apple picker realizes that it is conventional for herdsman to give their love interest an apple as a gift—which is something Daphnis then proceeds to do.
It is important to note two additional matters regarding Longus’ adaptation of Sappho’s passage. First, we are surprised to hear that Chloe is not at all pleased to see Daphnis climbing up the apple tree in order to present her the apple. Indeed, she tells him not to do so and leaves him behind to take care of her flock. However, if we see the apple as an allegory of marriage and a young bride, Chloe’s discontent is not surprising. Seaford explains it in the following way:
What is found in the Attic and non-Attic evidence alike is the ambiguity, for the bride, of the transition. The abrupt passage into her new life contains both negative and positive elements. On the one hand it is like the yoking of an animal or the plucking of a flower. ... It is an occasion of resentment and anxiety, comparable to death. ... The relationship between the negative and the positive tendency of the ritual is a delicate one: the negative tendency must not be denied, but it must of course eventually be overcome. For example, the negative image nature destroyed may be met by the positive image of its taming and cultivation. ... The wedding expresses not only the victory of a positive over a negative tendency, but also in a sense the victory of culture over nature. 
In Longus the progression from nature to culture that Chloe is to undergo is even more strongly emphasized as a result of the assimilation of Chloe with Artemis before her marriage. Namely, at several points in the novel Chloe is portrayed wearing a fawn skin.  This is a direct reference to cultural conventions of the time, which are also manifest in the beginning of Xenophon of Ephesus’ Ephesiaca. In this novel, the main female character Anthia is partaking in a procession for Artemis and dresses like the virgin goddess, who is portrayed with a fawn skin:
κόμη ξανθή, ἡ πολλὴ καθειμένη, ὀλίγη πεπλεγμένη, πρὸς τὴν τῶν ἀνέμων φορὰν κινουμένη: ὀφθαλμοὶ γοργοί, φαιδροὶ μὲν ὡς κόρης, φοβεροὶ δὲ ὡς σώφρονος: χιτὼν ἁλουργής, ζωστὸς εἰς γόνυ, μεχρὶ βραχιόνων καθειμένος, νεβρὶς περικειμένη, γωρυτὸς ἀνημμένος, τόξα, ἄκοντες φερόμενοι, κύνες ἑπόμενοι.
Xenophon Ephesiaca 1.2.6–7By virtue of wearing a similar fawn skin Chloe is compared to the goddess Artemis, known especially for being the protector of maidens and their virginity before marriage. In light of the association between herself and Artemis, Chloe’s identity will shatter as soon as Daphnis plucks the Sapphic apple symbolizing her virginity and marriage to the young man. Following Seaford’s arguments about marriage in general, Daphnis submits Chloe to an occasion comparable to death; by showing Chloe’s displeasure, Longus emphasizes the tragic nature of the event.
Second, we find another noteworthy element in the description of the apple-scene in Longus. Even though Chloe is reluctant to receive the gift, Daphnis nevertheless presents her with the apple and compares himself to Paris granting the golden apple to the goddess Aphrodite, a gift that led to the events of the Trojan War. On the one hand, this comparison appears particularly relevant to the story. Just like Paris, Daphnis is a young man born to wealthy parents from the city, was abandoned by his parents as a child, and grew up as a herdsman in the countryside. This comparison with Paris in Book 3 foreshadows the revelation of Daphnis’ true identity at the end of the novel. Moreover, the same comparison implies an association between Chloe and Aphrodite—hereby Daphnis undoes the connection to Artemis described above. The association between Chloe and Aphrodite is unsurprising when we consider that this association has direct precedents in Sappho. Indeed, Nagy argues that “[i]n the case of Aphrodite, there are many instances of implicit equations of the bride with this goddess: in one song, for example, the bridegroom is said to be infused with the divine charisma of Aphrodite, evidently by way of his direct contact with the bride (Sappho F 112).”  We can additionally frame this resemblance with Seaford’s observations that liken marriage to an evolution from nature to culture. In this way, the identity of Chloe that was formerly dominated by nature / Artemis, has now become cultured / Aphrodite.
On the other hand, several elements of the association can be considered problematic or at least striking. First, Paris does not present an apple to Aphrodite as a symbol of marriage, as is implied in the image of the apple given by Daphnis to Chloe. In the case of Paris, the apple is the initial impetus leading to the Trojan War. By introducing this particular parallel between the two gifts, Longus creates a sense of foreboding; are we to expect a similar war resulting from the love between Daphnis and Chloe? Second, it is noteworthy that the choice of this particular story of the judgement of Paris goes against the expected metaphor of the perfect bridegroom even though it affirms the expected connection between Longus’ Chloe and Aphrodite. Indeed, in the remaining fragments of Sappho, the god who takes up the role of the bridegroom next to Aphrodite is Ares.  The same role of the perfect bridegroom is sometimes fulfilled by the hero Achilles as well,  but never by Paris. The choice of the judgement of Paris as a secondary intertextual background for the apple scene must therefore have particular implications for our interpretation of the passage and the work as a whole. I will look further into the intriguing implications of this later in this paper.
2. Other Occurrences of the Apple in Longus
In the previous paragraphs we contrasted the two specific passages by Longus and Sappho that are most similar to one another. However, it is important to frame these within the broader context of other passages in which the apple appears in Longus, and to reflect on whether they have any connection to the Sapphic intertextuality described above. Regarding these other occurrences of the apple in Longus, Mason briefly notes that “[o]ther passages (1.15.3, 19.2, 23.2, 24.3, 25.2; 2.3.4, 4.4; 3.25.2; 4.2.3, 10.3), show no particular connection to Sappho, but enhance the impression that the author wished to present apples as typical of the island he was portraying.”  However, the apple is not only an important symbol relating Longus to Sapphic poetry but also an iconic image throughout the rest of antiquity in other ways.  It therefore would be truly surprising if no additional meaning could be attributed to these other references, with the exception of the rather mundane meaning of presenting the apple as a typical product of Lesvos. Indeed, the apple has been used as an image strongly associated with Aphrodite and love in general.  We can divide the other passages that Mason mentions into three separate categories, which will now be discussed.
When the apple is mentioned in fragments 1.23.2, 2.3.4, 4.2.2, and 4.10.3, it is foremost a part of the environment. The apples are employed in a description of, respectively, the Lesvian countryside in a particular season, the garden of Philetas, and twice the garden of Daphnis’ father, Lamon. Regarding this first category, I agree with Mason that the apple in combination with other images reinforces the association of the fruit with the island of Lesvos. However, I would like to attribute a secondary meaning to these examples as well; namely, that Longus adds an erotic nuance to those spaces. In the case of the first fragment, the apples are described to be ἐρῶντα ‘loving’ and the garden of Philetas is the stage of the actual encounter between Philetas and the god of love, Eros. The garden of Lamon, finally, is owned by the master, an important man from the city, and Daphnis needs this person’s approval in order to marry Chloe. When this garden is later destroyed by an envious herdsman to prevent Daphnis from marrying Chloe, Daphnis presents the apples—together with other presents—to the son of the master when the latter agrees to take the blame for the destruction of his father’s garden. Clearly, Longus wishes to closely link the apple with the island of Lesvos. Although these examples are not directly connected to Sappho, Longus does seem to refer to the symbolism of the apple as belonging to Aphrodite and an image closely related to love in general.
In fragments 1.24.3 and 1.25.2, Daphnis favorably compares Chloe to an apple in order to express his love. During this part of the story, in which the love between the two heroes truly grows and flourishes, Daphnis describes Chloe’s face as white and red as an apple and states that neither apple nor pear could be compared to her breath. In these particular fragments, I suggest that we do see a reference to Sapphic imagery even if not directly. For the same connection between the virgin and the apple is implied both in Sappho’s fragment and in Longus 3.33.4; namely, the beautiful apple left hanging on top of the tree is a metaphor for the beautiful bride—Chloe in the case of Longus. By comparing Chloe’s beauty to an apple in the first book, the author alerts the reader to this particular metaphor that will be presented later in the novel. Therefore, these two fragments in Longus’ book one already prepare the reader for the Sapphic fragment that will follow and intensify the association between Chloe and the apple in Longus’ Book 3.
The third and final category of passages in which the apple is mentioned remarkably seems to diverge from the positive Sapphic image of the apple as a symbol for marriage. In fragments 1.15.3 and 1.19.2, it is the cowherd Dorcon who presents an apple and other gifts, such as the fawn skin mentioned above, to Chloe and her father. The cowherd himself seems to be more experienced in the conventions of love than both Daphnis and Chloe, but by giving Chloe a fawn skin, he appears to reinforce Chloe’s connection with Artemis and her status as a virgin. In this way, Dorcon cannot be successful, even though he presents both Chloe and her father with a similar apple; he is rejected by Chloe’s father when he comes to ask him for her hand in marriage. As readers, we are now left to speculate about a possible discrepancy in meaning between the two apples.
We find a possible answer to this question in Longus’ novel in fragment 3.25.2 as a quote of Nape or Chloe’s mother. In this passage Chloe’s mother appears to be one of the more pragmatic characters we encounter. She encourages her husband to marry Chloe off soon since she fears that “sooner or later a man will destroy her virginity and she will make a man out of him in return for some apples or roses.” The statement suggests that apples given by herdsmen to young virgins have a different status than the symbolic apple that is derived from Sapphic poetry and that stands for an actual marriage or what could be construed as a more sincere type of love. 
3. Poetics of Space in Longus
From the two previous sections we can conclude that in Longus 3.33.4, the author adds semantic material to the Sapphic image of the apple as a metaphor for the bride. Namely, Longus complements the image with conventional conceptions of marriage as identified by Seaford and associates the image of Sappho with the epic golden apple used in the judgement of Paris—a surprising connection. Secondly, we argued that the other instances in which the images of the apple occur in the novel not only develop the impression for the reader that apples are typical of Lesvos but also that they add erotic imagery to some of the places on the island, that in some cases they reinforce the reference to Sappho, and that in other cases they offer a different image of the apple semantically opposed to the Sapphic imagery.
In order to provide a satisfactory explanation for the two different images of the apple, and in order to account for the problematic nature of the connection between the image of the Sapphic apple and the judgement of Paris, I would like to employ concepts introduced by the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard when he discusses the poetics of images of space. In his introduction, the author states that:In the case of Longus’ novel, I suggest that the story is a spatial poetic image in its entirety. The narrative is, in fact, a detailed description of a painting seen through the eyes of the author—a literary device called ekphrasis. It resembles a poetic image in that it is a “dynamisme” characterized by echoes, of which we could consider the Sapphic apple to be one. Longus creates this dynamic by introducing a division between two physical spaces in the novel itself, namely, the city and the countryside.  The latter, on the one hand, is the most prominent space in the painting and consists not only of the fields but also the herdsmen’s homes and their gardens. On the other hand, the former space is not as prominent; but when people from the city—such as the hunters, the parents of the two heroes, and figures such as Lycaenion—find themselves in the countryside, they make a great impact on the lives of the people in that space. I will argue that differing interpretations of the apple indicate the dynamics between these two spaces in Longus’ novel.
[l]'image poétique n'est pas soumise à une poussée. Elle n'est pas l'écho d'un passé. C'est plutôt l'inverse : par l'éclat d'une image, le passé lointain résonne d'échos et l'on ne voit guère à quelle profondeur ces échos vont, se répercuter et s'éteindre. Dans sa nouveauté, dans son activité, l'image poétique a un être propre, un dynamisme propre. 
Regarding the presentation of the countryside, the author alerts the reader on many occasions to the strong pastoral nature of the novel, originating as it does in pastoral poetry and poetics. In the original preface to the novel, the narrator of the story points to several elements that are characteristic of the pastoral world as represented by Theocritus;  these elements are the herdsmen, their flocks, and the locus amoenus,  which on the level of the narrator and on the level of the actual ekphrasis, respectively, consists of a grove and fields. The fields in particular and the oak tree underneath which Daphnis and Chloe come together and enjoy each other’s company not only are reminiscent of Theocritan pastoral poetry but also remind the reader of an entire tradition of pastoral imagery in various literary forms. In epic, for example, the image is conspicuously similar to the situation described in Iliad XXII 126–128 with the words “οὐ μέν πως νῦν ἔστιν ἀπὸ δρυὸς οὐδ᾽ ἀπὸ πέτρης τῷ ὀαριζέμεναι, ἅ τε παρθένος ἠΐθεός τε παρθένος ἠΐθεός τ᾽ ὀαρίζετον ἀλλήλοιιν.” In this particular climactic scene in which Hector, while being chased by Achilles, realizes that he will certainly not be able to escape Achilles’ wrath, Hector describes a pastoral scene similar to the image created in Longus; namely, we see a young boy and a young girl having small talk underneath an oak tree.
In the countryside we can situate several characters, such as the adoptive parents of the two lovers and their fellow herdsmen, Philetas and Dorcon. In this space, we locate the fragments we discussed above in relation to the non-Sapphic symbolism and interpretation of the apple. This kind of love is symbolized by Dorcon and what we learn from Chloe’s mother Nape; Dorcon’s love fails to conquer Chloe’s heart and other herdsmen are, according to Nape, wont to give apples and roses to girls in return for their virginity outside of the conventions of marriage. This kind of love, placed in the setting of pastoral poetry and poetics, clearly is a different love than that which underpins the bond symbolized by the two heroes of the novel.
The city, on the other hand, is characterized only through its inhabitants and is not described directly. One of the most important characters representing the space of the city in the novel is Lycaenion, or “little wolf.” Longus states that “τούτῳ γύναιον ἦν ἐπακτὸν ἐξ ἄστεος, νέον καὶ ὡραῖον καὶ ἀγροικίας ἁβρότερον: τούτῳ Λυκαίνιον ὄνομα ἦν” (3.15.1); namely, she has been brought from the city to the countryside and is “by country standards rather sophisticated.”  She appears to know about physical love and the conventions of love as established in the space of the city, and will teach these to Daphnis. Her character is described in a noteworthy way: Longus mentions that she is “rather sophisticated,” for which he uses the Greek word ἁβρός. This adjective is also used in Sappho 2.14 and 100 with the meaning ‘graceful’ or ‘soft’. By using a Sapphic adjective, Longus may associate Lycaenion to Sapphic poetry as well. It is only after Daphnis learns about the conventions of physical love in the city that he understands how to truly love Chloe. However, Lycaenion also mentions to Daphnis that he should not rush, since loving Chloe in this way will make her bleed (3.19.2) and will change her permanently. For this image, we can directly refer to what was discussed in the first part of this paper regarding the ambiguity and negative tendency related to marriage.
Now, it is impossible to fully situate Daphnis and Chloe in either physical space of the novel. On the one hand, it is reasonable to situate the two lovers themselves in the pastoral spatial unit, since they were both raised in this environment. After all, we learn that Daphnis as well as Chloe were nursed by animals and that Daphnis’ name in particular has strong connections to the pastoral world such as in Theocritus. The name of the herdsman Daphnis recurs multiple times in Theocritus’ poetry, specifically in poem 1, and Daphnis’ adoptive father chooses a pastoral name in order to emphasize his identification with this physical space. In contrast, both heroes’ biological parents are from the other spatial unit in the novel, namely the city, and therefore do not fully belong in the countryside. In this way they are capable of being interlocutors, embodying the dynamics and balance between the two physical spaces in the novel.
Indeed, the appropriation of Sapphic imagery—such as the apple—by Daphnis is a symptom of the development this character undergoes from the space of the countryside to that of the city. The former spatial unit is characterized by pastoral poetry, while the latter is associated with Sapphic imagery and epic. Daphnis’ journey starts in 1.17.4—when he is described as being paler than grass after Chloe’s first kiss, which is a clear reference to Sappho 31  —and is followed by the apple scenes in Book 2. His journey into the cultured space of the city then culminates in the climactic scene in Book 3 after being introduced into the erotic conventions of the city by Lycaenion. This development also clarifies the importance of the comparison between Daphnis and Paris in the apple scene in Book 3; it emphasizes Daphnis’ identity as a true dweller of the space of the city. Longus additionally demonstrates the development and evolution of Chloe from the huntress Artemis to Aphrodite, the goddess of Sappho, during the same passage. Winkler points to a similar evolution when he states that “[o]nly when Chloe’s natural beauty is supplemented by her elegant bridal dress—when, in other words, nature and culture, physis and technê, are combined—can she embody true perfection, the ideal of both beauty and knowledge.” 
Thus the narrative portrays, not only the development of the two young heroes in physical love, but also their journey from the pastoral countryside to the spatial unit of the sophisticated city and its conventions: or an evolution from the conventions of pastoral poetics to the lyric poetics embodied by Sappho. Moreover, it is important to note that it is because the characters of Daphnis and Chloe can be situated in both poetic spaces, as mentioned above, that it is possible for this journey or evolution to take place. In contrast to the images used by Dorcon, the countryside-herdsman, only Daphnis is capable of channeling Sapphic imagery. Finally, we should not forget that dramatic tension also arises “from the difference between the story’s protagonists and its readers.”  Indeed, Longus writes about inexperienced herdsmen for a sophisticated audience of readers from the city.
In our discussion of the imagery of the Sapphic apple in Longus and how it relates to conceptions of marriage in antiquity, we noted a strong connection between the Sapphic imagery and epic imagery. Further, we observed the same image featuring in other parts of the novel as an erotic image that in some places reinforces and in other places opposes the way the apple is interpreted in Sapphic tradition. Finally, we stepped beyond discussing the image of the apple itself and placed it in a larger framework of spatial dynamics in Longus’ novel. We argued that there is a dynamics between two spatial units, the countryside and the city, and that, in order to establish love between them, the two main characters Daphnis and Chloe need to undergo a personal development that leads them from the pastoral countryside to the sophisticated city. The countryside is the stage for pastoral poetics and the opposing image of the apple presented in the second part, whereas the city is linked to the Sapphic and epic tradition through Lycaenion and the Sapphic image of the apple. Therefore, we can conclude that the novel is not only educating its characters in the art of physical love but also the poetics of love, its conventions and limits.
This prompts a final question: why do the two heroes ultimately decide to return to the countryside and continue living there after their wedding? The comparison between Paris and Daphnis leaves the reader slightly concerned and confused. The reader asks himself whether he should expect a similar war resulting from the love between Daphnis and Chloe as that which resulted from the love between Paris and Helen. Because Daphnis and Chloe decide to return to the countryside, the characters deviate from their comparison with the origin story of the Trojan War and nullify any fear the reader might have. The return to the countryside introduces both a circular movement back to the beginning of the novel and a sense of timelessness. This idea of timelessness is only to be expected in an ancient novel from this particular time period, and corroborates the novel’s conception as ekphrasis of a static painting despite its internal dynamics. Xenophon of Ephesus’ Ephesiaca similarly ends with the image of the two lovers spending the rest of their lives as if they were a festival (Ephesiaca 5.15.3). This image introduces a sense both of timelessness and of repetition, since festivals by their very nature are socially constructed to take place periodically. The timelessness and repetitive character in Longus’ novel is additionally cemented through comparison with Thucydides, as noted by Luginbill in his comparative analysis of the two authors. In his sixth point of comparison, Luginbill demonstrates that in Longus’ prologue, the author refers in many different ways to the methodology employed by Thucydides in his work.  Indeed, Thucydides also emphasizes the repetitiveness of war and its inevitability “as long as human nature remains the same” (History of the Peloponnesian War 3.82.2), whereas Longus’ novel—represented as a history of love—can be read μέχρι ἂν κάλλος ᾖ καὶ ὀφθαλμοὶ βλέπωσιν (Introduction 4).
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[ back ] 1. “Gregory of Corinth commenting on Hermogenes de meth. 13.” in Ewen Bowie 2013:184.
[ back ] 2. Bowie 2013:180.
[ back ] 3. Mason 2004:5–6.
[ back ] 4. Mason 2004:6–7.
[ back ] 5. Mason 2004:7–8.
[ back ] 6. Bowie 2013:188–189.
[ back ] 7. Himerius Orationes 1.16 alludes to this comparison: “Σαπφοῦς ἦν ἄρα μήλῳ μὲν εἰκάσαι τὴν κόρην … τὸν νύμφιόν τε Ἀχιλλεῖ παρομοιῶσαι καὶ εἰς ταὐτὸν ἀγαγεῖν τῷ ἥρωι τὸν νεανίσκον ταῖς πράξεσι.”
[ back ] 8. Bowie 2013 pays special attention to the asyndeton used in these three sentences and argues that because of this, Longus “leaves the reader uncertain which of the two explanations to prefer” (189).
[ back ] 9. Seaford 1987:106.
[ back ] 10. An example of this: “τὸ δὲ ἐντεῦθεν ἀπολουσαμένη τὸ πρόσωπον πίτυος ἐστεφανοῦτο κλάδοις καὶ τῇ νεβρίδι ἐζώννυτο καὶ τὸν γαυλὸν ἀναπλήσασα οἴνου καὶ γάλακτος κοινὸν μετὰ τοῦ Δάφνιδος πότον εἶχε” (Longus Daphnis and Chloe 1.23.3).
[ back ] 11. Nagy 2007:28.
[ back ] 12. Nagy 2007:28. “In the case of Ares, he is a model for the gambros ‘bridegroom’, who is explicitly describes as isos Areui ‘equal to Ares’” (Sappho F 111.5).
[ back ] 13. Nagy 2007: “In the case of Achilles, as we see from the surviving traces in the Epic Cycle, this hero was imagined as an irresistible lover by lovelorn girls hoping to make him their husband” (33).
[ back ] 14. Mason 2004:3.
[ back ] 15. Both Foster and Littlewood dedicate an entire article to the symbolism of the apple in antiquity. Foster attempts to provide “a complete collection of the allusions to the thing in literature” (Foster 1899:40). Littlewood’s article, then, is “in nature an appendix to Foster’s” (Littlewood 1968:147).
[ back ] 16. Foster 1899:40 and Littlewood 1968:147. Foster and Littlewood both consider the symbolism of the apple as a token of love.
[ back ] 17. In Theocritus 11, the author also employs the image of apples to describe that the love of the Cyclops Polyphemus is more serious than a love of apples and roses. However, in this case, the love is more serious in a negative way. Indeed, Theocritus states that the Cyclops is “ἤρατο δ’ οὐ μάλοις οὐδὲ ῥόδῳ οὐδὲ κικίννοις, ἀλλ’ ὀρθαῖς μανίαις, ἁγεῖτο δὲ πάντα πάρεργα.” (11.10–11) His love is not a matter of apples or roses, but a true madness. We cannot exactly compare these apples to either of the apples of Longus.
[ back ] 18. Bachelard 1958:1–2.
[ back ] 19. The same dynamics can be found in the bucolic poetry of Theocritus. In the Idylls, “[t]he bucolic fiction, with its implicit contrast of country and city, the simple and the elaborate, signifies something beyond itself, a desiderated ideal of calm and harmony with self and with nature” (Segal 2014:210).
[ back ] 20. One of the most direct references to the poetry of Theocritus is discussed for example by Bowie 2013:181–182 in his comparison between Longus 1.10.2 and Theocritus 1.
[ back ] 21. Longus’ locus amoenus is discussed further in Winkler 2002:34–35.
[ back ] 22. Henderson 2009:121–123.
[ back ] 23. Theocritus employs a similar picture in Idyll 11.13. Segal 2014 notes: “The grass which should nurture the flock (11.13; cf. 4.18) is here as ‘pale’ as the conventionally unhappy lover (Sappho 31.14 LP; Longus 1.17.4)” (224).
[ back ] 24. Winkler 2002:30–31.
[ back ] 25. Winkler 2002:27.
[ back ] 26. Luginbill 2002:245.