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43 - Animals, Slaves and Masters in Longus’ Daphnis and Chloe (2019)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 October 2023

Ewen Bowie
Affiliation:
University of Oxford
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Summary

The first section of this chapter reworks ‘Les animaux dans le Daphnis and Chloé de Longus’ (2005) given to the second Tours colloque organized by Bernard Pouderon in 2002. After reviewing the roles played by animals (often of agents important for the plot), and noting their appearances’ frequent intertextuality with Homer, Hesiod, Alcaeus, Sappho and Theocritus, it turns to terms for the master-slave relationship, whose debut comes unexpectedly late in the novel: οἰκέτης, ‘house-servant’, first at 2.12; δουλεύω, ‘I am a slave’, first at 2.23; δοῦλος, ‘slave’, first at 3.31; δέσποινα, ‘mistress’, first at 3.25; δεσπότης, ‘master’, first at 3.26. It argues that a significant parallel (hinted at by the comparison between the obedience of Daphnis’ goats and that of οἰκέται to their master’s command at 4.15.4) should be seen between different relations of dominance – sheep and goats dominated by shepherds and goatherds; slaves and people of low rank dominated by members of Greek city elites – and that this parallel prompts readers to contemplate the control exercised by Rome over the Greek world and its city elites. Such contemplation is invited by the analogy between Longus’ story of a couple suckled by animals and that of Romulus and Remus suckled by a wolf, and by his choice of name for the couple’s son, Philopoemen, that of a historical character whom Plutarch says some Roman called ‘the last of the Greeks’.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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