Practice Question What do the Cyclops, Argus, Oedipus and the Graiae have in common? a) They are all characters in Athenian tragedy. b) They are all characters from the Odyssey. c) They are all creatures of fantasy. d) They are all deprived of their sight. e) They all are tricked. Ovid’s Metamorphoses Poet as Hero Ovid • Roman poet 43 BC - 17 AD • Educated, sophisticated, witty • Extensive references to both Greek and Latin poets • A favourite theme: erotic love – Contrast Virgil • Exiled by Augustus in 8 AD Metamorphoses • Epic poem, 15 books • Ambitious: the history of the world from creation to Augustan Rome (chaos to order) • Unifying theme: changing forms • Special focus on myths of metamorphosis • Narrative structure reflects theme • An important source for later writers and artists (e.g. Shakespeare) Highlights • Creation and the Four Ages (962-965) – Compare Hesiod • Lycaon (evil) and the flood (965-969) – Compare Gilgamesh • Deucalion and Pyrrha (virtue) (969-972; review) • Apollo and Daphne (972-975; review) • Perseus (980-984; review) • Orpheus and Eurydice (984-989) • Apotheosis of Caesar (989-992) Ovid’s Story of Creation • Chaos, a shapeless confusion • Order: separation and boundaries • Animals • Humans can look up to heaven Four Ages • Golden (Saturn) – Peace, abundance, spring • Silver (Jupiter) – Seasons, houses, agriculture • Bronze – War • Iron – Evil, violence, greed, mining, impiety, injustice, assaults on Heaven Lycaon (966-968) • Assembly of gods, Jupiter’s tale • Lycaon an example of evil, hybris • Resists worship, serves flesh of his guest • Lightning and metamorphosis • Plan to eradicate human race Flood (968-969) • Inversion of natural order • Deucalion and Pyrrha alone survive • Repopulation of earth • Metamorphosis: stones into humans Apollo and Daphne (972-975) • Cupid vs Apollo • Apollo cannot heal his wound • Metamorphosis into laurel tree Orpheus and Eurydice • What is Orpheus’ “heroic” quality? • Reason for katabasis? • Compare with: – Aeneid – Odyssey – Bacchae – Homeric Hymn to Demeter Deification of Julius Caesar • How is Julius Caesar deified? • What has he done to deserve apotheosis? • How does Ovid incorporate Virgil and Greek myth into this story? • For what accomplishments is Augustus praised? Epilogue (992) • What is the place of the poet in the order of the universe?