The Metamorphoses

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1955-10-01
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics
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Metamorphoses--the best-known poem by one of the wittiest poets of classical antiquity--takes as its theme change and transformation, as illustrated by Greco-Roman myth and legend. Melville's new translation reproduces the grace and fluency of Ovid's style, and its modern idiom offers a freshunderstanding of Ovid's unique and elusive vision of reality.

Table of Contents

BOOK I Chaos transformed into the ordered universe -- the creation of man -- the Four Ages -- the giants' attack on heaven -- the transformation of Lycaon -- the Flood -- the story of Deucalion and Pyrrha -- Apollo slays the Python -- the story of Daphne and Apollo -- the story of Io -- Mercury relates the transformation of Syrinx, and slays Argus -- Io restored to human shape -- the quarrel of Epaphus and Phaethon
BOOK II The story of Phaethon -- his sisters transformed into poplars, Cygnus to a swan -- the story of Jupiter and Callisto, and Callisto's transformation into a bear -- she and her son become stars -- the raven goes to tell Apollo of the faithlessness of Coronis -- the crow's warning -- the story of its transformation -- the raven persists, Coronis is slain by Apollo, but her son Aesculapius is rescued, and given to the centaur Chiron -- the raven's plumage changed from white to black -- the centaur's daughter, Ocyrhoe, changed into a horse -- theft of Apollo's cattle by Mercury -- Battus betrays Mercury, and is turned to stone -- the story of Mercury and Herse -- Aglauros changed to marble -- the rape of Europa
BOOK III Cadmus seeks his sister in vain, and settles in Boeotia -- the slaying of the serpent and the sowing of its teeth -- Thebes is founded -- the story of Actaeon -- the fate of Semele, and birth of Bacchus -- Tiresias' judgement concerning the pleasures of love -- Juno rewards him with blindness, Jupiter with the gift of prophecy -- the story of Echo and Narcissus -- Pentheus scorns the prophet, and seeks to exclude Bacchus from Thebes -- the story of the Lydian sailors transformed by Bacchus -- death of Pentheus
BOOK IV Tales told by the daughters of Minyas -- Pyramus and Thisbe -- Mars and Venus -- the love of the sun for Leucothoe, and jealousy of Clytie -- Salmacis and Hermaphroditus -- the sisters themselves transformed into bats, their tapestries into vines -- Juno drives Athamas and Ino mad -- Ino and her son become gods of the sea, her attendants are turned to stone, or become birds -- Cadmus and his wife turned into serpents -- Perseus returns from slaying the Gorgon, whose blood drips in Libya and changes into serpents -- Atlas transformed into a mountain -- the liberation of Andromeda -- coral changes from plant to rock -- the wedding of Perseus and Andromeda -- the origin of the snakes on the Gorgon's head
BOOK V The wedding of Andromeda -- Phineus fights for his lost bride -- he and his followers turned to stone -- Perseus returns home -- the fate of Proetus and Polydectes -- Pallas visits Helicon to see the fountain Pegasus produced -- the Muses tell her of Pyreneus -- their contest with the daughters of Pierus -- the Pierides sing of the disguises of the gods -- Calliope tells of the rape of Proserpine, Ceres' wanderings, and incidentally of various transformations -- Cyane to a pool, a boy to a newt, Ascalaphus to an owl, the Sirens into birds, Arethusa into a spring -- the story of Triptolemus -- Lyncus changed into a lynx -- the Pierides transformed
BOOK VI The story of Arachne -- the story of Niobe -- the story of the Lycian peasants transformed into frogs -- the flaying of Marsyas -- Pelops' ivory shoulder -- the story of Tereus, Procne, and Philomela -- the marriage of Boreas and Orithyia -- their sons join the Argonauts
BOOK VII The Argonauts at Colchis -- Jason, helped by Medea, performs various tasks, gains the Golden Fleece, and returns to Greece with Medea as his wife -- the rejuvenation of Aeson -- the death of Pelias -- flight of Medea, who finds refuge with Aegues, and plans to poison his son Theseus -- the origin of aconites -- Theseus saved and recognized amid general rejoicing -- Minos threatens war, and seeks allies -- Aeacus promises aid to Athens -- the story of the Myrmidons -- stories of Cephalus, how Aurora stole him away, the transformation of his dog Laelaps, and the death of Procris
BOOK VIII Minos besieges Megara -- the story of Scylla -- Minos returns to Crete -- the labyrinth -- the slaying of the Minotaur -- Ariadne deserted by Theseus, saved by Bacchus -- the story of Daedalus and Icarus -- the transformation of Daedalus' nephew into a partridge -- the Calydonian boar hunted by Meleager and his company, including Atalanta -- death of Meleager -- Achelous entertains Theseus -- tale of nymphs transformed into islands -- story of Baucis and Philemon -- account of Proteus' various shapes -- story of Erysichthon and his daughter -- Achelous declares that he too can transform himself
BOOK IX Contest of Hercules and Achelous, to win the princess Deianira -- Nessus attempts to carry off Deianira -- death of Nessus -- death of Hercules -- his deification -- Alcmene tells of the transformation of Galanthis -- Iole of that of Dryope -- Iolaus has his youth restored -- Themis warns Hebe she will have to bestow the boon of youth again, at the time of the Theban war -- discontent of the gods quieted by the thought that even Jupiter's favourites grow old -- Miletus leaves the Kingdom of the aged Minos, and founds a city in Asia -- he becomes the father of Byblis and Caunus -- story of Byblis -- story of Iphis and Ianthe
BOOK X The story of Orpheus and Eurydice -- Orpheus gathers trees around him -- the story of Cyparissus -- the song of Orpheus -- story of Jupiter and Ganymede -- of Apollo and Hyacinthus -- of the Cerastae -- of Pygmalion and Galatea -- of Myrrha -- of Venus and Adonis -- of Atalanta and Hippomenes -- of the death of Adonis
BOOK XI Death of Orpheus -- the Thracian women changed into oaks -- Midas and the golden touch -- contest of Pan and Apollo -- Midas is given ass's ears -- the building of Troy's walls -- the perfidy of Laomedon -- Hercules defeats Troy -- the story of Peleus and Thetis -- the transformation of Daedalion -- the wolf attacking Peleus flocks is changed to stone -- the story of Ceyx and Alcyone -- the story of Aesacus
BOOK XII Paris brings Helen, and war, to Troy -- the Greek fleet detained at Aulis -- portent of serpent devouring birds indicates victory -- sacrifice of Iphigenia -- the Trojan war -- Achilles slays Cygnus -- story of Caeneus, involving account of the battle between the Lapiths and the centaurs -- story of the death of Nestor's brother -- death of Achilles
BOOK XIII Ajax and Ulysses contest the arms of Achilles -- death of Ajax -- fall of Troy -- story of Polyxena -- story of Hecuba and Polymnestor -- transformation of Hecuba -- story of the honour granted Aurora's son Memnon -- flight of Aeneas -- tale of the daughters of Anius -- the cup presented by Anius to Aeneas -- the Trojans reach Sicily -- the story of Polyphemus, Acis, and Galatea -- the sea-god Glaucus tries to win Scylla's love
BOOK XIV Glaucus seeks Circe's help -- the transformation of Scylla -- Aeneas and Dido -- the voyage to Italy -- transformation of the Cercopes -- the Sybil's story -- the fortunes of Achaemenides -- Macareus' tales of Circe and Ulysses -- the story of Picus -- war with Turnus -- the fortunes of Diomede -- the story of the wild olive -- the ships of Aeneas transformed into sea-nymphs -- defeat of Turnus, and transformation of his city, Ardea, into a heron -- deification of Aeneas -- catalogue of kings -- story of Pomona and Vertumnus, who tells the tale of Iphis and Anaxarete -- Samnites attack Rome, but the gate-way is defended by hot springs -- deification of Romulus and of his wife, Hersilie
BOOK XV Numa appointed as successor -- the foundation of Crotona -- the philosophy of Pythagoras -- death of Numa -- his wife Egeria comforted by Hippolytus, who tells her his story -- transformation of Egeria -- the story of Tages -- Romulus' spear changed into a tree -- the story of Cipus' horns -- the coming of Aesculapius to Rome -- the transformation of Julius Caesar into a star -- epilogue

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