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The Metamorphoses of Ovid, literally translated

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  42,891 Ratings  ·  960 Reviews
Literally translated with notes and explanations by Henry T. Riley, books 1 to 15. First published in 1899. According to Wikipedia: "Publius Ovidius Naso (20 March 43 BC – AD 17 or 18), known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who wrote about love, seduction, and mythological transformation. He is considered a master of the elegiac couplet, and is trad ...more
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Published February 1st 2011 by B&R Samizdat Express (first published 8)
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Rachel Smalter Hall
I bought this copy of Ovid's Metamorphoses when I was living in Rome. It's the book I was reading on the plane when I left Rome, as the realization sunk in that an awesome and strange adventure was drawing to a close, and it's the book I was still reading when I moved back to Minneapolis and attempted to readjust to life as a Midwestern college undergrad.

I was reading Metamorphoses at the cafe a few blocks away from my apartment when a strange man gave me that little terror of a kitten, Monster.
Riku Sayuj
Jan 29, 2013 Riku Sayuj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r-r-rs
To read this in English is to not have read it. The few Latin verses I could read and understand were more pleasurable than all the wonderful myths and twisted fates. The verses take the form of what it describes, they flow or pause or rear up along with its subject. The translation feels beautiful at those rare times when I can call to mind some of the great works of art inspired by those artists who loved and lived these verses. No statues were made by artists inspired by translations.
J.G. Keely
Sex, violence, and humor are often painted as low and primitive: the signs of a failing culture. Yet it is only in cultures with a strong economy and a substantial underclass that such practices can rise from duty to pastime. As Knox's introduction reminds us, Ovid's time was one of pervasive divorce, permissive laws, and open adultery, and our humble author participated in all of them.

Eventually, the grand tyrant closed his fist over the upper classes, exerting social controls and invoking the
Apr 13, 2016 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aere-perennius, 2014
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.”
― Ovid, Metamorphoses


Ovid -- the David Bowie of Latin literature. I chewed on this book of myth-poems the entire time I was tramping around Rome. I was looking for the right words to describe my feelings about it. It isn't that I didn't like it. It is an unequivocal masterpiece. I'm amazed by it. I see Ovid's genes in everything (paintings, sculptures, poems and prose). He is both modern
Oct 24, 2012 Celeste rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves, own
What the fuck Ovid. Save some brilliance for the rest of us.
Paquita Maria Sanchez
I'm re-reading this from bits I consumed throughout my youf as a mythology dork, but the use of Roman names rather than their Greek equivalents requires a lot of stopping and re-referencing to figure out who the F. is being discussed. My Roman numerals suck too, since we're on the subject. Anyway, I decided to restart this in conjunction with reading Venus in Furs because that novel brought to mind the Pygmalion myth, which brings to mind The Sea Came in at Midnight, and somehow these all conglo ...more
Apr 25, 2011 Praj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ovid-lust-love
Gods and their love affairs. Gods and their love affairs with mortals. Fate, covetousness, allegiance, brutalities, treachery and chastisements metamorphosing from the cocoon of mighty love. The discordant waves of love dangerously destabilizing romantic notions; overwhelming morality and raison d'être of Gods and mortals alike. Ovid makes you want to write intense poetry and feel affectionate to the idea of love as a device of alteration for better or worse. Love does not conquer all; it destro ...more
Mar 12, 2016 Fernando rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Siempre es vital, en todo lector de clásicos que se precie de tal, recorrer las páginas de los pioneros, los creadores, los que antecedieron a toda la literatura moderna, tal es el caso de Ovidio como también lo son Virgilio, Homero, Sófocles, Esquilo, Eurípides y tantos otros. He leído con interés la mayoría de las transformaciones narradas en Las Metamorfosis y por supuesto, algunas me gustaron más que otras; por eso enumero la galería de mitos que desfilan por sus gloriosas páginas. Todos ell ...more
Evan Leach
The Romans have a reputation as the great copycats of antiquity. After all, these were a people who borrowed a large amount of their culture, including most of their gods, from their neighbors. This reputation for imitation certainly holds true when looking at Roman literature. Plautus and Terence borrowed wholesale from Menander and other Greek playwrights. Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura, for all of its merits, is basically restating the views of Epicurus. Catullus and Propertius imitated Callimach ...more
David Lentz
Jun 20, 2011 David Lentz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I confess that reading Ovid's Metamorphoses has left me a changed man. His focus on transformation parables of ancient myths taught me quite a bit about change. I was intrigued by how often unwanted change was unwillingly created by life-denying action that angers one of the gods. All the great figures of ancient times are here: Daedalus, Achilles, Paris, Perseus, Hector, Pygmalion, Midas, Helen and Aeneas to name but a few. The origins of common fables must have had their ancient roots in Ovid. ...more
Jan 08, 2009 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, Ovid. What I wouldn't give to travel back in time and make sweet love to you on an island in the middle of the Mediterranean.

No, I don't think it's unhealthy to have lustful fantasies about Ovid. I don't care what you think! I do very much care that his work was lush, provocative and unforgettable in its revolutionary translation (often taking liberties) of what was at the time contemporary folk literature. A treasury of verse!
Metamorphosesis an epic poem written by Latin poetPublius Ovidius Naso, also known as merelyOvid. It's compounded by fifteen books that narrates this author's perspective of the world, from the Creation of it tohis days in the Roman Empire through a recollection of fantastic myths about transformation, either out of prayer or punishment, but always by divine intervention. It is important, however, to take into account that often, when Ovid refers to these deities, throughout his epic verses, he' ...more
Ian Grayjoy

The Birth of Narcissus

Narcissus was fathered by Cephisus, who "forcefully ravished" the dark river nymph, Liriope.

Narcissus was so beautiful that, even in his cradle, you could have fallen in love with him.

His family asked a seer whether he would live to a ripe old age. He replied, "Yes, if he does not come to know himself."

At first, it seemed that this reply was innocuous. However, ultimately, according to Ovid, it was proven to be true for two reasons: "the strange madness"
Mar 11, 2009 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a delightful book! Most of the myths contained herein were ones with which I was already familiar, many from high school Latin, but I’d not read the work in its entirety. What a treat it was to read it from start to finish, as Ovid had organized it. Ovid is a witty and urbane Latin writer of the last half of the first century BC and the early years of the first century AD, and he creatively used the myths of Greece to create a book that is a light entertainment as well as commentary on the ...more
David Sarkies
Oct 15, 2014 David Sarkies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Classics Buffs and Poetry Lovers
Recommended to David by: David Hester
Shelves: poetry
A story of change and transformation
14 March 2014

The first thing that came into my mind as I was reading this book is a concept that was developed by the Ancient Greek philosopher Democritus: matter is never created or destroyed, it only ever changes form. Then there is the idea Ovid explores: the universe in which we live is in a constant state of flux. Granted, this is the second time that I have read this book (and in fact this particular translation, and I do plan on reading it again) and I
Apr 06, 2012 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
THIS PATTERN SHOWS UP A LOT. My English II class taught me that authors use repetition of themes to tell you that they're important, so, that means this pattern must be REAL important:

1. Jupiter inexplicably rapes the Fair Maiden.
2. Juno uses trickery (trickery!) to cause the Fair Maiden to unwillingly screw everything up.
3. The Fair Maiden cries so much, she makes this river!
4. The Fair Maiden inexplicably turns into a tree. Usually some sort of soliloquoy about the unfairness of the situation
4 Stars, Completed April 24, 2016

They say leave the best for last, right? My last assigned reading for my classics class happened to be my favorite. It incorporated all the famous myths I already knew (and some unknown ones I haven't heard before) but also put them all in context and sequence.

Ovid's Metamorphoses documents the origin and creation of the world up until the life of the poet himself. There are some familiar segments pulled from The Iliad (my review), The Odyssey , and The Aenei
May 09, 2016 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, it's a classic and in 2000 (and eight) years, enough great people have said enough great things about it. What can I add that's new?

Fuck all.

I'm sure if I had the time to trawl through a couple of millennia of criticism, someone else would have said:

Shit load of gods raping nymphs and associated females; that Jupiter was a right bastard.

So I won't bother.
The only way this could be better is if Ovidius himself recited it while I reclined on a couch listening to him.

And while the other creatures on all fours
Look downwards, man was made to hold his head
Erect in majesty and see the sky,
And raise his eyes to the bright stars above.

And out on soaking wings the south wind flew,
His ghastly features veiled in deepest gloom.
His beard was sodden with rain, his white hair drenched;Mists wreathed his brow and streaming water fell
From wings and chest; an
It's hard to rate classics sometimes. So much of the lore of Greek and Roman mythology came from these stories, and while there is appreciation for that, it was not a book you really want to sit down and read.

It is set up as an epic, with "Books," just like The Iliad and The Odyssey. However, there is no central protagonist. Instead, it basically tells the history of the world from creation up to the Roman emperor Augustus. It tells this story in snippets, and that is probably how it is best kno
I used this translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses when I was doing my GCSEs, and I've looked out for it ever since. The current poetic translations irritated me, I wanted the version I remembered. Well, lo and behold, my university's library delivered.

Don't read Ovid's Metamorphoses expecting a novel, or even a single coherent story. It's a series of stories, woven together in a highly flexible framework, which results in some stories being examined at length and others skipped over. There are sto

Diana looks so sweet. Just don't let her catch you looking, or she'll give you antlers and set your own dogs on you.

Between the ages of 8 and 10 I was obsessed with all things Roman & Greek. I had these water-color illustrated books of classic myths and knew them all by heart, even if DID pronounce Eurydice like Yuri-dies. (and still do, apparently). I did eventually move on to other obsessions but it was a joy to revisit some of my favorite stories, even if (or because?) Ovid's versions hav
Jul 18, 2011 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ovid falls in line with Lucretius and Virgil as one of Rome’s greatest poets. Metamorphoses compiles the myths inherited by the Greeks that helped define Roman culture. The focus, as one can tell by the title, is on change. Story after story details the transformation of one being in another. It is in change that Ovid finds his truth:
Nothing remains the same; the great renewer,
Nature, makes form from form, and, oh, believe me
That nothing ever dies. What we call birth
Is the beginning of a differe
Mar 20, 2012 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who long for a reawakening, in every sense
Recommended to John by: Maybe... Dante? The Inferno?
The changes that teem in Ovid's rambunctious & altogether wonderful catalogue -- a reinvention of the fairytales he grew up with, at once fat & serpentine -- prompt chills of horror even as they feel off-hand. Stories spool out conversationally, each thread untangling to reveal another, & we're not reading for the reassurance of arriving somewhere, like safe at home in Ithaca, but rather for the astonishment of getting everywhere, of going magnificently gaga. Along the way, the trans ...more
شيرين هنائي
يكفي جدا للباحث في الميثولوجيا الاغريقية..لوحات رائعة برؤية جديدة..اتمنى ان اعطية عشرة نجوم
Hadeel Hossam El-Din Moustafa
قرأت أجزاء كثيرة من الكتاب على فترات غير منتظمة ربما فاتتني بعض الأساطير وكثيراً ما أعدت قراءة أجزاء منه عندما كانت تشغل تفكيري قضية حياتية معينة كنت أتذكر أسطورة مرت علي أثناء قرائته تمثل هذه القضية ..

لطالما أعتقدت أن الديانات القديمة والميثولوجيا المرتبطة بها لدى الحضارات القديمة تنبع في الأصل من عدم قدرة البشر على العيش دون إيمان بوجود قوى عليا تنظم سير حياتهم ورسخ هذا الكتاب الاعتقاد بذلك لدي ..
حيث تدور الأساطير في الأصل حول العقاب الإلهي الأشهر لدى الإغريق وهو مسخ المذنب وتحويله إلى كائن غي
Feb 24, 2014 Yann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Souvent il s'approche, ses mains palpent son œuvre, ne sachant
si elle est de chair ou d'ivoire. Et il ne dit plus qu'elle est en ivoire ;
il lui donne des baisers, et pense qu'elle les lui rend ; il lui parle,
l'étreint, croit sentir ses doigts presser les membres qu'ils touchent
et craint que les bras ainsi serrés ne soient marqués de bleus.
Tantôt il lui dispense des caresses, tantôt lui offre des présents
appréciés par les filles : coquillages, beaux galets, petits oiseaux,
des fleurs de mille cou
Jul 20, 2008 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always been interested in Greek mythology. In fact, it kind of ruined other mythologies for me, because none of them seem quite as dramatic or detailed. I mean, these are epic stories where every river, reed and tree is a character. There are stories involving men, spirits and gods, some of them funny, most of them tragic and all of them pertinent to the human condition.

That's what mythology does, really - it explains not only the natural world, with its many interesting insects and flowers
Ahmad Sharabiani
1000. Metamorphoses, Ovid
اووید، ق. م. - ؟م
Metamorphoses, Ovid (from Greek)
Characters: Apollo, Hercules, Venus, Mars, Orpheus
عنوان: «افسانههای دگردیسی اوید»، اثر: «پوبلیوس اویدیوس نسو»؛ برگردان: «میرجلالالدین کزازی»، نشر: تهران، معین، چاپ نخست سال ، در صفحه، شابک: 9789641650348، موضوع: شعر یونانی -- ترجمه شده به فارسی

اووید، یکی از نامآورترین سخنوران «رومی» یا همان «لاتین» است، و میتوان وی را پس از «ویرژیل» و «هومر»، پرآوازهترین سخنسرای لاتین نامید. «افسانههای دگردیسی» در «پنجاه بخش» به نظم درآم
Jan 04, 2008 Trevor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
I never quite finished this and will need to start again now. The problem was reading it before bed at night - there are so many stories and so many characters that keeping track of them all in that twillight between awake and asleep proved too much for me. But this is the Classical World's Bible, although much more interesting in that the stories are clearly meant to be taken as metaphor and there isn't endless boring bits where all that happens is praise for the jealous god.

The Greeks and Roma
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Classical Literat...: The Metamorphoses Spoiler-free Discussion 8 108 Aug 24, 2014 11:33AM  
Classical Literat...: The Metamorphoses Discussion (with spoilers) 1 52 Jul 21, 2014 03:12PM  
Recommended translations? 9 102 Dec 10, 2013 09:15PM  
Classical Self-Ed...: #7: Ovid's Metamorphoses 1 30 Jan 07, 2013 09:33AM  
Mithology! 2 59 Aug 15, 2012 01:09PM  
  • Homeric Hymns
  • The Satyricon
  • The Golden Ass
  • The Complete Odes and Epodes
  • The Complete Poems
  • Theogony/Works and Days (World's Classics)
  • The Georgics
  • Euripides I: Alcestis/The Medea/The Heracleidae/Hippolytus
  • The Sixteen Satires
  • The Comedies
  • The Oresteia  (Ορέστεια, #1-3)
  • The Poems
  • Sappho: A New Translation
  • The Way Things Are: The De Rerum Natura
  • Idylls
  • The Fall of Troy
Publius Ovidius Naso (20 March 43 BCE – CE 17/18), known as Ovid (/ˈɒvɪd/) in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet best known for the Metamorphoses, a 15-book continuous mythological narrative written in the meter of epic, and for collections of love poetry in elegiac couplets, especially the Amores ("Love Affairs") and Ars Amatoria ("Art of Love"). His poetry was much imitated during Late ...more
More about Ovid...

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“I grabbed a pile of dust, and holding it up, foolishly asked for as many birthdays as the grains of dust, I forgot to ask that they be years of youth. ” 275 likes
“Fas est ab hoste doceri.
One should learn even from one's enemies.”
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