Metamorphoses (Ovid)

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The beginning of the metamorphoses in the manuscript Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat. Lat. 1594, fol. 1r (15th century)

The Metamorphoses (Latin original title Metamorphoseon libri : "Books of Metamorphoses") of the Roman poet Ovid , written probably from the year 1 or 3 AD to around 8 AD, are a mythological work written in hexameters about metamorphoses (" Metamorphoses ”). They consist of 15 books of about 700 to 900 verses each and describe the origins and history of the world in terms of Roman and Greek mythology . About 250 legends were processed. The Metamorphoses have always been one of the most popular mythological works of all and certainly the one best known to medieval writers and poets. Thus this work had an enormous influence on the literature of the Middle Ages as well as on the visual arts from the Middle Ages to the Baroque .

Ovid chooses the metamorphosis stories that are often found in myths on the subject, in which mostly a person or a lower god is transformed into a plant, an animal or a constellation ( cadastre ). The work begins with the emergence of the world out of chaos and a great flood, which only a couple of humans ( Deucalion and Pyrrha ) survive, and it ends with the transformation of Caesar's soul into a star . Ovid moves from example to example by working his way through mythology; he often jumps from one story of metamorphosis to the next in a seemingly random manner. In truth, however, the transitions between the individual metamorphosis sagas are extremely artistic. He combines central scenes of Greek mythology with more remote myths.

History of origin

Metamorphoses occupy a central place in Ovid's 30-year creative period (approx. 15 BC until his death in 17 AD) .

Ovid began work in 1 BC. Chr., As Pohlenz 1913 (disputed). In 8 AD, when Ovid was exiled, the work was almost complete.

In the first half of his oeuvre Ovid mainly worked in elegiac distiches , e.g. B. in the amores ("love poems"), the epistulae heroidum ("letters from heroines") and in the ars amatoria ("love art"). An exception is the tragedy Medea , which has not survived except for a few verses .

For the metamorphoses , Ovid chose the hexameter and thus clearly committed himself to the epic . Nevertheless, he does not process purely epic material: playfully (as "Lusor") and with the highest literary demands, in the manner of a poeta doctus , he interweaves historical, elegiac and didactic elements with the epic framework in his metamorphosis sagas with the epic framework that he redesigned and incorporated ironized to a large extent. So he parodies the catalog of heroes typical of the epic in the Actaeon episode: Instead of a list of heroes and their attributes, here is a detailed description of the Actaeon's dogs , which hunt and kill their master, who has been transformed into a deer .

The work comprises 15 books with around 12,000 verses and is therefore epic. At the time of his exile (e.g. epistulae ex Ponto ), Ovid turned back to the elegiac distich.

Ovid's interest in mythical subjects was already evident in earlier works . For the metamorphoses , a large number of collections of myths is proven today as templates for almost all of the approximately 250 metamorphoses . The Greek collection of Nicandros from Colophon from the second century BC with the title Heteroiumena , as well as the Metamorphoseis of Parthenios, should be emphasized . Both are catalog poems. Presumably with the help of a friend, Aemilius Macer , Ovid was also able to use at least one work that worked on a thematic selection: the Ornithogonia by Boio / Boios , a Greek poem that has only survived in part and which tells of the transformation of people into birds .

Ovid lived through the last period of the Roman civil wars and the transition to monarchy and then - during his own creative period - the heyday and finally crises under Emperor Augustus. The transition to sole rule (until 17 BC) had been criticized in their poetry by elegists such as Gallus , Properz and Tibullus . Ovid followed their example when peacetime slowly became mind-paralyzing autocracy , and covertly criticized the emperor's narrow-mindedness. The possibility of criticism was probably an important factor in the development of the metamorphoses . But they are also interpreted as allegories for the alleged return of the Golden Age under Augustus.

Well-known stories

The emergence of the world, the world ages , Deucalion and Pyrrha ( Flood ), Pyramus and Thisbe , the Lycian peasants , Daedalus and Icarus and Perdix , Philemon and Baucis , Battus , Narcissus and Echo , Orpheus and Eurydice , Apollo and Daphne , Phaethon , Niobe , Iphis and Ianthe , King Midas with the music contest between Pan and Apollo , Pygmalion , Jupiter's affairs with beautiful women (especially Europe , Io , Callisto , Leda and Leto / Latona ), the Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux), Perseus and Andromeda , Jason and Medea , Pythagoras , Caesar and Augustus .

Structure of the metamorphoses and selected transformations

The Metamorphoses of Ovid are divided into 15 chants (books) with 7 to 18 chapters each, which are listed below in full in tabular order. The chapter headings are followed by selected metamorphoses from the respective books, naming the people involved (transformers and transformed), the plants or animals into which the person is transformed, and the reason for the metamorphosis. The first verses of Reinhart Suchier's translation are quoted in every book .

Book 1 (779 verses): “Pleasure becomes agitated to song as forms / changed into other bodies. Gods, oh are you - you too have changed them / inclined to my beginning, and from the very beginning of creation / until our time the poem leads a continuous thread. "

  1. Prooemium / gods call (verses 1-4)
  2. The origination of the world (verses 5-88)
  3. The four world ages (verses 89-150)
  4. The giants (verses 151-162)
  5. Lycaon (verses 163-252)
  6. The great flood (verses 253-312)
  7. Deucalion and Pyrrha (verses 313-415)
  8. Renewal of the animal world (verses 416-437)
  9. Python (verses 438-451)
  10. Daphne (verses 452-567)
  11. Io (verses 568-621)
  12. Argus (verses 622-688)
  13. Syrinx (verses 689-746)
  14. Phaethon (verses 747-779)
Who, what is by whom / what transformed into who / what and why?
Lycaon Jupiter wolf Punishment for Lycaon's cruelty
Daphne Peneus laurel Protection from the loving Apollo , preservation of virginity
Syrinx her sisters reed to escape the persecuting Pan , preserving her virginity
Io Jupiter cow to hide infidelity from Juno

Book 2 (875 verses): “Sol's castle stood stately elevated on towering pillars / bright of flashing gold and of flame-like pyropus. / Shiny ivory adorned the pediment above; / The two gate leaves shone brightly in the light of the silver. "

  1. Phaethon (verses 1–339)
  2. The Heliopolites (verses 340-366)
  3. Cygnus (verses 367-400)
  4. Callisto and Arcas (verses 401-530)
  5. Coronis (verses 531-588)
  6. Nyctimene (verses 589-632)
  7. Ocyrhoe (verses 633-675)
  8. Battus (verses 676-707)
  9. Aglauros (verses 708-759)
  10. Invidia (verses 760-832)
  11. Europe (verses 833-875)
Who, what is by whom / what transformed into who / what and why?
Callisto Juno bear Punishment for Callisto's association with Jupiter
Battus Mercury stone Punishment for Battus' perjury
Aglauros Mercury stone monument Punishment for Aglauros envy of the relationship between Herse and Mercurius

Book 3 (733 verses): “The god, freed from the shell of the deceptive bull /, had long since discovered himself and inhabited dictayal corridors / when ignorant Agenor ordered to look for the abducted woman / Cadmus the son and, he found it they don't, as punishment, banishment ... "

  1. Cadmus (verses 1-130)
  2. Actaeon (verses 131-252)
  3. Semele (verses 253-315)
  4. Tiresias (verses 316-338)
  5. Narcissus and Echo (verses 339-510)
  6. Pentheus and Bacchus (verses 511-576)
  7. The Tyrrhenian boatmen (verses 577-691)
  8. Pentheus' death (verses 692-733)
Who, what is by whom / what transformed into who / what and why?
Actaeon Diana deer Actaeon sees Diana naked
Narcissus Nemesis daffodil hopeless love for his own reflection in the mirror
echo Juno stone long loneliness due to a hopeless love for Narcissus

Book 4 (803 verses): “Minyas' daughter, however, Alkithoe, thinks that she does not need the god / orgies. That Bakchos came from Iupiter / she still denies with presumptuous defiance, and the sisters / share such an unholy spirit. The priest was supposed to come to the festival ... "

  1. The daughters of Minyas (verses 1-54)
  2. Pyramus and Thisbe (1st daughter) (verses 55-166)
  3. Leucothoe and Klytie (2nd daughter) (verses 167-270)
  4. Salmacis and Hermaphroditus (3rd daughter) (verses 271-388)
  5. Transformation of the Minya daughters (verses 389-415)
  6. Athamas and Ino (verses 416-562)
  7. Cadmus and Harmonia (verses 563-603)
  8. Perseus (verses 604-620)
  9. Perseus and Atlas (verses 621-662)
  10. Perseus and Andromeda (verses 663-739)
  11. The corals (verses 740-752)
  12. Medusa (verses 753-803)
Who, what is by whom / what transformed into who / what and why?
Cadmus and Harmonia - snakes at your own request
Atlas Gorgon head mountain Revenge of Perseus , as he received no hospitality from Atlas

Book 5 (678 verses): “Narrated as such in the midst of the crowd of the Kephenen / Danaes divine son, suddenly an urgent crowd / roaring fills the princely hall. But not a wedding celebration / announces the rising noise, it points to grim weapons. "

  1. Perseus and Phineus (verses 1–235)
  2. Proetus and Polydectes (verses 236-249)
  3. Pallas and the muses (verses 250-268)
  4. Pyreneus (verses 269-293)
  5. The Pierids in competition with the muses (verses 294-317)
  6. Typhoeus (verses 318-331)
  7. Ceres and Proserpine (verses 332-358)
  8. Pluto and Proserpine (verses 359-384)
  9. Rape of Proserpine (verses 385-408)
  10. Cyane (verses 409-437)
  11. Stellio (verses 438-461)
  12. Ceres' further search and Arethusa's account (verses 462-532)
  13. Ascalaphus (verses 533-550)
  14. Sirens (verses 551-563)
  15. Jupiter's decision (verses 564-571)
  16. Arethusa's story (verses 572-641)
  17. Triptolemus and Lyncus (verses 642-661)
  18. Metamorphosis of the Pierids (verses 662-678)
Who, what is by whom / what transformed into who / what and why?
Phineus and his warriors Perseus (with the Gorgon ) stone Inferiority of Perseus to still win the battle
Cyane, the boy with the old woman , Ascalaphus himself (Cyane), Ceres (potion of the ancients), Ceres Water, star lizard, eagle owl Anger (Cyane), punishment for ridicule (the boy), punishment for testifying that Proserpine ate a pomegranate (Ascalaphus)
Alpheus , Arethusa Alpheus, himself; Arethusa, through gods water Achievement of goals (Alpheus), fear (Arethusa)
The nine daughters of Pierus the aonic sisters of gods nine magpies Challenge of the gods, punishment

Book 6 (721 verses): “Tritonia had carefully listened to this story / and approved the singing and anger of the Aonic girls. / "There is little praise," she began to herself, "I myself must be praised, / and heavily atone for the guilt who mocks our Godhead." / On the Arachne Geschick, the Maionerin, she ponders in her mind ... "

  1. Arachne (verses 1-145)
  2. Niobe (verses 146-312)
  3. Lycian peasants (verses 313-381)
  4. Marsyas (verses 382-400)
  5. Pelops (verses 401-411)
  6. Tereus , Procne and Philomela (verses 412-674)
  7. Boreas and Orithyia (verses 675-721)
Who, what is by whom / what transformed into who / what and why?
Arachne Pallas Athene (juices of the Hecate) spider (Envy of the goddess for Arachne's talent), punishment
Niobe Latona , Phoebus , Phoebe Marble (stone spring on a mountain top) Contempt for the gods, pride, punishment
Lycian peasants Latona Frogs (in the swamp) Disregard of the so-called "supplex peto" (pleading request), contempt for the gods, arrogance of the peasants, pride, punishment
Tereus , Procne , Philomela - European robin (Philomela and Procne), hoopoe (Tereus) Marking of the murder (red down on the sisters), punishment for the deeds

Book 7 (865 verses): “Already with the Minyern the pagasian keel drove through the sea tide, / Phineus was already visited, who dragged the old age helplessly / in perpetual night, and scared away by Aquilo's sons / the maidens were from the mouth of the tormented Old man, / and after some danger was among the hero Jason ... "

  1. Jason and Medea (verses 1–158)
  2. Aeson (verses 159-296)
  3. Medea's revenge on Pelias (verses 297-349)
  4. Medea on the run (verses 350-403)
  5. Theseus and Aegeus (verses 404-452)
  6. Minos arming against Athens (verses 453-489)
  7. Cephalus at Aeacus (verses 490-500)
  8. Aegina on the side of Athens (verses 501-516)
  9. Plague on Aegina (verses 517-660)
  10. Cephalus and Phocus (verses 661-670)
  11. Cephalus and Procris (verses 671-756)
  12. Laelaps (verses 757-793)
  13. Death of the Procris (verses 794-865)
Who, what is by whom / what transformed into who / what and why?
Aeson , an old man (father of Jason ) a magic potion of Medea a younger man Salvation from natural death; Medea's token of love to Jason

Book 8 (884 verses): “When now the clear day, shooing away the nocturnal hours, / Lucifer opens up again, there the east lies down, and it lifts / damp clouds. The cephalos beut and the sons of Aiakos / return journey peaceful south, from which they happily driven ... "

  1. Nisus and Scylla (verses 1–151)
  2. Maze . Theseus and Ariadne (verses 152-182)
  3. Daedalus and Icarus (verses 183-235)
  4. Perdix (verses 236-259)
  5. Calydonian boar (verses 260-444)
  6. Althaea (verses 445-525)
  7. The sisters of Meleager (verses 526-546)
  8. Theseus with Achelous - Echinades and Perimele (verses 547-610)
  9. Philemon and Baucis (verses 611-724)
  10. Proteus (verses 725-737)
  11. Erysichthon and Mestra (verses 738-776)
  12. Fames (verses 777-842)
  13. Hypermnestra (verses 843-884)
Who, what is by whom / what transformed into who / what and why?
Perdix Pallas Athene a partridge Salvation from deceitful death by Daedalus ; Punishment / guilty conscience for Daedalus
Perimele Neptune an island Rescue from death
Philemon and Baucis Jupiter a linden and an oak Fulfilling a wish as thanks for hospitality

Book 9 (797 verses): “What made him sigh and why his forehead is mutilated, / asked the god the Neptunian hero. So / Kalydon's stream spoke up, wrapped around the unleashed hair with reeds: "

  1. Achelous and Hercules (verses 1-97)
  2. Nessus (verses 98-133)
  3. Hercules Oeteus (verses 134-272)
  4. Galanthis (verses 273-323)
  5. Dryope (verses 324-393)
  6. Iolaus . The sons of Callirhoe (verses 394-453)
  7. Byblis (verses 454-665)
  8. Iphis (verses 666-797)
Who, what is by whom / what transformed into who / what and why?
Achelous he himself first in a snake, then in a bull to get in the fight against Hercules to assert
Lichas Hercules stone Punishment; he brought the poisonous cloak to Hercules
Galanthis Lucina Weasel Because she helped Iole to give birth through a trick, which Lucina wanted to prevent
Byblis - source she cries so much with grief because she loves her brother Caunus
Iphis Isis man so that Iphis, who was born a woman, can marry his beloved Ianthe

Book 10 (739 verses): "There goes, wrapped in the saffron garment, Hymenaios / through the infinite air and turns to the Kikonen / coast and is uselessly called by Orpheus' voice."

  1. Orpheus and Eurydice (verses 1–105)
  2. Cyparissus (verses 106-142)
  3. Ganymedes (verses 143-161)
  4. Hyacinthus (verses 162-216)
  5. Cerastae and Propoetides (verses 217-242)
  6. Pygmalion (verses 243-297)
  7. Myrrha (verses 298-502)
  8. Venus and Adonis (verses 503-559)
  9. Hippomenes and Atalanta (verses 560-707)
  10. Metamorphosis of Adonis (verses 708-739)
Who, what is by whom / what transformed into who / what and why?
Hyacinthus Apollo flower He was ashamed of having killed him.
Pygmalion statue Venus a real woman Venus takes pity and transforms the statue because Pygmalion has fallen in love with it.
Myrrha Gods tree She loved her father and wants to die, in life she would offend people, as dead offend the other dead.
Hippomenes and Atalanta Venus Lions Because Hippomenes did not thank Venus for her help and he and Atalanta desecrated a sacred temple.

Book 11 (795 verses): “While with such a poem the Thracian singer / lured the forest trunks and the savages' minds and the following stones, / look, there are perceived iconic women, the wild / breasts covered with furs from the top of the hill Orpheus, / like a melodious song he joined the struck strings. "

  1. Death of Orpheus (verses 1-66)
  2. The maenads (verses 67-84)
  3. Midas (verses 85-193)
  4. Laomedon and Hesione (verses 194-220)
  5. Peleus and Thetis (verses 221-265)
  6. Peleus' reception with Ceyx (verses 266-289)
  7. Daedalion and Chione (verses 290-345)
  8. The wolf (verses 346-409)
  9. Ceyx and Alcyone (verses 410-748)
  10. Aesacus (verses 749-795)
Who, what is by whom / what transformed into who / what and why?
Rice, stone, plaice, fruit, meat, grape juice Midas (indirectly through Bacchus ) gold Bacchus fulfills a wish for Midas as a reward for the found Silenus
Midas (under the curse of the gift of honor) Bacchus Midas (exempt from honorary gift) Bacchus has mercy and tells Midas how to wash off the guilt
Midas' ears Apollo Dog ears As punishment, Apollo pulls Midas's ears out and covers her in gray fur
Thetis (goddess of water) oneself Bird, tree, speckled tigress To protect himself from Peleus who wants to mate her
Morpheus (god of dreams) oneself Ceyx To deliver the death of her husband Ceyx to Halcyone
Ceyx and Halcyone Gods Birds (two kingfishers - Halcyoninae) The couple separated by Ceyx's death can live together again
Asakus (the diver) Thetys bird Thetys thus saves the diver from death who wants to throw himself off the cliff out of guilt

Book 12 (628 verses): “Priam, not yet aware that he lived bearing wings, / mourned Aisakus; Hector also brought sacrifices at the unmarried grave, which the name indicated, at the same time as the brothers / / Paris, however, was not present at the sad honor ... "

  1. The serpent in Aulis (verses 1–23)
  2. Iphigenia (verses 24-38)
  3. Fama (verses 39-63)
  4. Achilles and Cygnus (verses 64-168)
  5. Caeneus (verses 169-209)
  6. Lapiths and Centaurs (verses 210-535)
  7. Periclymenus (verses 536-579)
  8. Achilles' death (verses 580-619)
  9. Prelude to the Hoplon Crisis (verses 620-628)
Who, what is by whom / what transformed into who / what and why?
Bluish dragon stone As a memorial for the prophecy of the seer Kalchas (9 years of war with Troy)
Iphigenia Diana hind to save them from sacrifice
Cygnus Neptune swan to save him from being strangled by Achilles
Caenis, a woman Neptune a man, Caeneus to protect him from rape and wounding in the future
Caeneus the man Neptune a yellow bird to save him from suffocating under the fallen trees
Periclymenus Neptune Eagle to hurt Hercules and then flee

Book 13 (968 verses): “When the princes sat down and the people stood around in a circle, / appeared before them the hero with the seven-layered shield, / Aias, and the anger ineffectual, the dark eye / on the Sicilian beach and straightened the boat on the beach, / he holds out his hand and says: "O Iupiter, here at the ships ..."

  1. Hoplon crisis: speech of the Aias (verses 1–122)
  2. Hoplon crisis: speech of Odysseus (verses 123-381)
  3. Aias decision and suicide (verses 382-398)
  4. Return of Philoctetes , Conquest of Troy , Hecuba (verses 399-428)
  5. Polydorus (verses 429-438)
  6. Polyxena (verses 439-575)
  7. Memnon (verses 576-622)
  8. Journey of Aeneas to Delos (verses 623-631)
  9. Anius (verses 632-674)
  10. Orion (verses 675-699)
  11. Onward journey of Aeneas (verses 700-729)
  12. Scylla (verses 730-749)
  13. Acis and Galatea (verses 750-897)
  14. Scylla and Glaucus (verses 898-968)
Who, what is by whom / what transformed into who / what and why?
Akis Sea nymph Galateia , Faunus , nymph Symaethis River god with horns The metamorphosis saves Akis from the Cyclops Polyphemus , who is jealous of him because of Galatea.
Glaucus Oceanus , Tethys (sea gods) Sea god with green hair and beard, bluish skin and a fish tail After eating special grass on the beach, Glaucus longs to live in the sea. Other sea gods wish him to be transformed.

Book 14 (851 verses): “Aitna's heavy mountain, which lies on a gigantic throat, / and the Cyclops area, which knows nothing of the karst and the plow / use and owes nothing to yoke-bearing bulls, was left behind by the Euboians, the inhabitants of swollen water; "

  1. Glaucus and Circe (verses 1-74)
  2. Onward journey of Aeneas (verses 75-88)
  3. Pithecusae (verses 89-100)
  4. Sibylla (verses 101-153)
  5. Achaemenides and Polyphemus (verses 154-222)
  6. Macareus and Circe (verses 223-307)
  7. Picus and Canens (verses 308-453)
  8. Diomedes and his companions (verses 454-511)
  9. The olive tree (verses 512-526)
  10. Aeneas' ships (verses 527-565)
  11. Ardea (verses 566-580)
  12. Aeneas' apotheosis (verses 581-608)
  13. The kings of Alba Longa (verses 609-621)
  14. Pomona and Vertumnus (verses 622-697)
  15. Iphis and Anaxarete (verses 698-771)
  16. Lautulae (verses 772-804)
  17. Apotheosis of Romulus (verses 805-828)
  18. Hersilia (verses 829-851)
Who, what is by whom / what transformed into who / what and why?
Scylla Circe Woman with angry hellhounds instead of an abdomen Circe is jealous of Scylla because of Glaucus who came to her to request a love potion for Scylla.
Sibylle Apollo a woman who lives a thousand years, but ages accordingly, so that in the end she is only available as a voice When Apollo grants Sibylle a wish out of love, she wishes for a very long life, but forgets her equally long youth. Because she does not reciprocate Apollo's love, the latter does not add eternal youth by himself.
Companions of Ulixes Circe Pigs, then people again Metamorphosis for no particular reason; Transformation back because Ulixes, who becomes her lover, demands this
Aeneas Jupiter , Venus, Numicius God indigenous After Aeneas' heroic life, Venus asks Jupiter, his mother, to make Aeneas god.
Vertumnus by itself Men with different professions, an old woman, finally back to himself To be around the beautiful tree nymph Pomona and to win her over. She only falls in love with him immediately when he is himself again.
Romulus and his wife Hersilia Jupiter , Juno Gods Quirinus and Hora Romulus' deification had long been promised to Mars by Jupiter and took place after Jupiter united the peoples of the Latins and Sabines . Juno has mercy on Hersilia, who is mourning him.

Book 15 (879 verses): “The question arises in the meantime, who will carry away the difficult office / burden and replace the place of such excellent king. / Fama, the harbinger of true success, determines the realm of the famous / Numa. For him it was not yet enough to know the Sabine people / customs; ... "

  1. Numa (verses 1-11)
  2. Myscelus (verses 12-59)
  3. Pythagoras (verses 60-478)
  4. Egeria , Hippolytus (verses 479-551)
  5. Day (verses 552-559)
  6. Romulus' spear (verses 560-564)
  7. Cipus (verses 565-621)
  8. Aesculapius (verses 622-744)
  9. Caesar's apotheosis (verses 745-851)
  10. Praise of Augustus (verses 852-870)
  11. Sphragis (epilogue) (verses 871-879)
Who, what is by whom / what transformed into who / what and why?
Egeria Artemis , Phoebus' sister source to deliver her from her insatiable grief over the loss of her husband Numa
Caesar Venus star to help him to live forever despite the assassination attempt

Individual persons from the work can be identified from the list of figures in Ovid's Metamorphoses .


“The Creation of Man” from a print of the Metamorphoses from 1676 with illustrations by François Chauveau
  • Around 1210 first translation into German by Albrecht von Halberstadt .
  • Christian interpretations of the work were widespread in the Middle Ages, such as the Ovidius moralizatus by Petrus Berchorius , which was written around 1340.
  • The translation of the Metamorphoses by Arthur Golding (1567) was described by Ezra Pound as "the most beautiful book in this language".
  • William Shakespeare uses the subject matter of Pyramus and Thisbe in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595 or 1596) . In Titus Andronicus (1589), Shakespeare's figure of Lavinia has some similarities with Ovid's Philomela: Just like Philomela, Lavinia is raped and then mutilated by her tormentors (Philomela had only one tormentor) - her tongue is cut off - so that she does not can tell of the injustice she experienced. In contrast to Philomela, however, Lavinia encounters a “craftier Tereus,” because her tormentors also cut off her hands in addition to her tongue so that she cannot - like Philomela once - weave a carpet that tells of the rape. The connection between the stories culminates in the first scene of the fourth act: Lavinia first points to a passage in Ovid's Metamorphoses to indicate the rape and her similar fate as that of Philomela, then she writes the names of her tormentors with a stick the sand.
  • Pyramus and Thisbe also served as models for the craftsman play in the drama Absurda Comica or Mr. Peter Squenz (around 1658) by the German writer Andreas Gryphius .
  • Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf (1739–1799) composed 12 symphonies based on Ovid's Metamorphoses .
  • The British composer Benjamin Britten composed the Six Metamorphoses after Ovid for oboe solo in 1951 .
  • Achim Freyer : The Metamorphoses of Ovid or The Movement from the Edge to the Center and Vice Versa , Burgtheater , 1987.
  • The Austrian writer Christoph Ransmayr published the novel The Last World in 1988 , in which he processed motifs from the metamorphoses .


Critical text editions

  • RJ Tarrant (Ed.): P. Ovidii Nasonis Metamorphoses. Recognovit brevique adnotatione critica instruxit RJ Tarrant . Oxford University Press, Oxford 2004, ISBN 978-0-19-814666-7 .
  • WS Anderson (Ed.): Ovidius. Metamorphoses. Edidit WS Anderson . Reprint d. 2. verb. Edition from 1982. de Gruyter, Berlin 1998, ISBN 978-3-598-71565-5 .

Bilingual editions

  • Michael von Albrecht (Ed.): Metamorphosen (Latin and German), Reclam, Ditzingen 1994, ISBN 3-15-001360-7 and other editions
  • Gerhard Fink (Ed.): Metamorphoses. The book of myths and metamorphoses , Artemis & Winkler, Zurich / Munich 1989 and other editions

Audio books


  • Michael von Albrecht: Ovids Metamorphoses. Texts, themes, illustrations . University Press Carl Winter, Heidelberg 2014, ISBN 978-3-8253-6320-8 .
  • G. Karl Galinsky : Ovid's Metamorphoses. An Introduction to the Basic Aspects . University of California Press, Berkeley, Blackwell, Oxford 1975, ISBN 0-520-02848-1 .
  • Niklas Holzberg : Ovids Metamorphoses . 2nd Edition. Beck, Munich 2016. ISBN 978-3-406-53621-2 .
  • Henning Horstmann: Narrator - Text - Reader in Ovids Metamorphoses . Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2014. ISBN 978-3-631-64923-7 .
  • Wilko Lücht: Investigations into the parables in Ovid's Metamorphoses . Lit, Berlin 2019. ISBN 978-3-643-14402-7 .
  • Winfried Schindler: Ovid "Metamorphoses". Recognition myths of the West. Europe and Narcissus . Sonnenberg, Annweiler 2005 (series: Exemplary series literature and philosophy, 20), ISBN 3-933264-39-1 .
  • Ulrich Schmitzer : Ovid's metamorphoses Germanized. Translations of the “Metamorphoses” from the Middle Ages and early modern times to the end of the 20th century. In: Josefine Kitzbichler, Ulrike CA Stephan (Ed.): Studies on the practice of translating ancient literature. History - analysis - criticism. de Gruyter 2016, pp. 113–245 ( preview of the book on Google Books).

See also

Web links

Commons : Metamorphoses  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Latin text

Translations into German

Translations into English

Commentaries, secondary literature

  • German
    • Winfried Schindler: Ovid, Metamorphoses. Recognition myths of the West . Europe and Narcissus (Exemplary Series Literature and Philosophy. Volume 20) Sonnenberg, Annweiler 2005 ISBN 3-933264-39-1 (further references)

Individual evidence

  1. Kurt Ruh : Courtly Epic of the German Middle Ages, Volume 1: From the beginnings to Hartmann von Aue. Berlin 1967 (= Basics of German Studies , 7); 2nd, improved edition Berlin 1977, p. 93.
  2. ^ William Shakespeare: Titus Andronicus . Ed .: Dieter Wessels. Reclam, Stuttgart 1988, p. 68 (act 2, scene 2, verse 41) .
  3. ^ William Shakespeare: Titus Andronicus . Ed .: Dieter Wessels. Reclam, Stuttgart 1988, p. 96-97 .