Not many are aware, but five ancient Hellic romance novels survive complete from antiquity. The Hellenic novel as a genre began in the first century CE, and flourished in the first four centuries; it is thus a product of the Roman Empire. The five are:

- Chariton of Aphrodisias’ 'Chaireas and Callirhoe', which was dated to be the earliest surviving completed Hellenic novel from the first century BC to the end of the second century CE that revolved around the Syracusian love story of Chaireas and Callirhoe.
- Xenophon of Ephesos’ 'Ephesiaka', dated to the early or middle second century CE is the tale of Habrokomes and Anthia.
- Achilles Tatius’ 'Leukippe and Kleitophon', dated to the second century CE, which is narrated in first person from Kleitophon’s point of view and is about their love story.
- Longus’ Daphnis and Chloe, dated to the late second century CE, is another love story, this time featuring the titular characters.
- Heliodoros of Emesa’s Aithiopika, which was dated between the third and fourth centuries CE and focusses on Theagenes and Charikleia’s love story which started in the middle of the narrative where they have travelled around Egypt and Hellas.
Most follow a typical plot in three parts:

- the meet
- the trials
- the reunion

The meetings usually take place at a festival. Habrocomes and Anthia met at the festival of Artemis, and Theagenes and Chariklea meet during the Pythian games in honour of Apollon. Of course the house is also a good palce to meet (in case of Kleitophon and Leukippe) and some just fall in love over time like Chloe and Daphnis where Chloe falls for Daphnis instantly but Daphnis takes a whiole to realize chloe's eyes are as big as a cow's (I am not joking) and she is actually really attractive.

The trials differ a lot. Kidnapping, pirates, slavery, horrible accidents, all possible. I won't spoil the plots too much, though. As with all good romance novels, though, you will not be surprised by the invariable conclusion: the couple is reunited and typicall ends up getting married.

These ancient novels are unique and important. They followed a long tradition of romance stories centered on homesexual (usually pederastic) relationships or naughty adventures with a concubine. In fact, these novels were what made marriages sexy.

Marriage in ancient Hellas was a family affair. The father of the husband-to-be--who was often in his thirties by the time he got married--opened negotiations with the family of a bride in her teens. The two families came to an agreement about dowry, a contract was signed by the father of the groom and the father of the bride in front of witnesses, and the groom met his new wife--often for the first time. Love rarely enteed into it, although mutual appreciation and even love were often described to ahev grown between the two partners in later years. Sexual intercourse with the wife was mandatory--and regualted by law--but fun in the bedroom was had with young male students or concubines. These novels, however, made marriage fun. They sold the idea of romance.

As Claire Catacouzinos writes so elegantly: 'the undertone of the Hellenic novels was for reproduction. Heterosexual couples were loyal and chaste, which resulted into them marrying. Therefore, the novels were a celebration of fertility for the Hellenistic and Imperial worlds which depended on the novels to influence people. They were the only forms in Post-Classical literature that represented a fully reciprocal and symmetrical heterosexual bond as the fundamental structuring principle of their narratives. As a result, heterosexual passion represented in the novels engaged people to love and marry as a social choice, and not restrict marriage as a social order, even though the novels were used to promote fertility and happiness in a cosmopolitan world.'