Longus (Greek: Λόγγος) was a Greek novelist and romancer, and author of Daphnis and Chloe.
Very little is known of his life, and it is assumed that he lived on the isle of Lesbos during the 2nd century AD, which is the setting of Daphnis and Chloe. 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.
If his name was really Longus, he was probably a freedman of some Roman family which bore it. Longus's style is rhetorical, his shepherds and shepherdesses are wholly conventional, but he has imparted human interest to a purely fanciful picture. Daphnis and Chloe resembles the modern novel more than its chief rival among Greek erotic romances, the Aethiopica of Heliodorus, which is remarkable mainly for the ingenious succession of incidents.
Daphnis and Chloe, two children found by shepherds, grow up together, nourishing a mutual love which neither suspects. The development of this simple passion forms the chief interest, and there are few incidents. Chloe is carried off by a pirate, and ultimately regains her family. Rivals alarm the peace of mind of Daphnis; but the two lovers are recognized by their parents, and return to a happy married life in the country. Daphnis and Chloe was the model of La Sireine of Honorť d'Urfť, the Diana enamorada of Montemayor, the Aminta of Tasso, and The Gentle Shepherd of Allan Ramsay. The celebrated Paul et Virginie is an echo of the same story. Also, Maurice Ravel based his ballet, Daphnis et Chloť, on the story.
The work was adapted into a 45-minute radio play by Hattie Naylor, first broadcast at 14:15 on Friday 3 March 2006, BBC Radio 3. 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 as follows-
The publication of the Greek text at Florence by Columbani was 1598.
The chief subsequent editions are those by
A. J. Pons's edition (1878) of Courier's version contains an exhaustive bibliography.
There are English translations by
and the rare Elizabethan version by Angel Day from Jacques Amyot's translation (ed. J. Jacobs in Tudor Library, 1890).
The illustrated editions, generally of Amyot's version, are numerous and some are beautiful, Prudhon's designs being especially celebrated.
Longus found an incomparable translator in Jacques Amyot, bishop of Auxerre, whose French version, as revised by Paul Louis Courier, is better known than the original. It appeared in 1559.