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Written in the late second century under the Roman empire, Leucippe and Clitophon was one of the most popular Greek romances. In lots of ways it epitomises the genre though it is undoubtedly racier with more overt sexual content than prose romances such as Daphnis and Chloe.

Full of elopements, shipwrecks, pirates, love potions, `dead' lovers coming back to life, it is more adventurous and less emotional than some other prose romances. The eroticism is treated playfully, though it is amusing to know that earlier translators used to put the `dirty bits' into Latin!

Picaresque in tone, it is clear to see the influence this exerted on later Renaissance romance such as Ariosto's Orlando Furioso (Oxford World's Classics) and Sidney's superlative The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia (The Old Arcadia) (Oxford World's Classics); but it also influences the development of the novel proper such as Don Quixote (Penguin Classics).

But apart from its literary impact, this is worth reading for itself and for its depiction of life under the Hellenistic empire. Fun, pacy and entertaining, this gives an important insight into everyday life in the Greek east.
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