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32.4.Konstan

 Longus concludes the preface to Daphnis and Chloe with the words, “No one has ever escaped or will escape love [erôs], as long as there is beauty [kállos] and eyes can see” (prol. 1.4). The connection between beauty and erotic passion is clear, and obtains throughout the Greek novels. What then of infants or small children? Are they also beautiful and hence inspire erotic desire? And again, how is erôs preserved when the lovers grow old and have passed their prime? Is beauty the same in men and women? By examining uses of the word kállos – a term that has not been studied independently but which comes closest, of all Greek words, to signifying “beauty” in classical Greek – I propose to shed light on how beauty is conceived and works in the Greek novels.

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