The Apple in Longus’ Lesvos: Sapphic Imagery in the Poetic Space of Daphnis and Chloe
1. Comparing Longus 3.33.4 and Sappho 105a
We 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:
ἄκρον ἐπ᾽ ἀκροτάτῳ λελάθοντο δὲ μαλοδρόπνες,
οὐ μὰν ἐκλελάθοντ᾽ ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἐδύναντ᾽ ἐπίκεσθαι
By 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.
2. Other Occurrences of the Apple in Longus
3. Poetics of Space in Longus
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.