Longus’ Imitation: Mimēsis in the Education of Daphnis and Chloe


  • Fritz-Gregor Herrmann


Longus' pastoral novel Daphnis and Chloe is a story about the erotic education of two innocent adolescents in the countryside. It has long been recognised that, on one level, the author intended his novel to be read in an allegorical fashion. This essay attempts to demonstrate in what respects and to what extent Longus consciously adopts and adapts ancient theories of art, many of which were, or were part of, theories of education, paideia: the prevalent view of art as ‘representation', mimēsis, also constituted the starting point for Longus' exploration of this theme. An awareness of this will shape our reading of the novel.

Fritz-Gregor Herrmann is Senior Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at Swansea University. He has published articles on Plato's ontology and theology; he is the author of Words and Ideas. The Roots of Plato's Philosophy (Swansea 2007), editor of New Essays on Plato (Swansea 2006) and co-editor, with Douglas Cairns and Terry Penner, of Pursuing the Good. Ethics and Metaphysics in Plato's Republic (Edinburgh 2007).