Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Heroides” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,421 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
The Heroides, written by Ovid some 2000 years ago, consists of a series of imaginary letters by legendary females of antiquity to their hapless lovers or husbands. The verse letters--purportedly penned by such heroines as Helen, Medea, Penelope, Dido & Sappho--are the outpourings of women who have been cruelly victimized, yet they are written in the witty & ironic ...more
Paperback, 159 pages
Published 1971 by Unwin Books Classics (first published -16)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Heroides, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Heroides

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
I'd never thought about reading more by Ovid, and then I came across The Heroides while showing someone else the wonders of my city's central library. (Before I knew it, I had a stack of nine books in my arms, despite the fact I'm about to go visit my parents via train, meaning I can't carry that many books.) Anyway, I was delighted to find this, and it's a nice edition too, with explanations of all the myths and extensive notes (which for the most part I don't need, but which were a handy refre ...more
Evan Leach
For mythology buffs, these poems are pure joy. The Heroides are a collection of 21 poems written from the perspective of heroines and heroes of epic and myth (the original "fan fiction?"). Written in the first person, each poem is addressed to the writer’s lover. The literary device most commonly deployed by Ovid is tragic irony. While the characters writing the poems do not know the outcome of the story, the reader (presumably) does. Ovid is able to give each writer their own unique voice, and ...more
Mar 13, 2016 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ana Maria Rînceanu
Once I found out Ovid wrote an epistolary book from the perspective of such important figures as : Helen, Paris, Leander, Madea, I just had to read it. So we finally know how to woe, to faint modesty, voice despair, threaten as only the ancients could (with a heavy dose of passion and misogyny). This was a good book if you're a fan of Greek mythology, but are not fluent in each protagonist's story since the letters themselves often make notice of the royal lineage and history of the lover so as ...more
Nov 22, 2010 Jesse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The pain that love brings upon separation from a loved one is certainly a theme that resonates with every human being (besides the Stoics who proclaim that true friends and lovers are never separate if they have minds to meet within). Ovid is, here as always, the most penetrating observer of human psychology this side of Shakespeare, and no amount of Freud or Jung will yield to the questing mind the insights the former pair have to offer. These poems are so intimate that I by chance read aloud D ...more
Cassandra Kay Silva
Ovid you are truly a master. Your poetry always reaches all the places in my heart and touches me deeply. I can absolutely sympathize with the women and men in these works. Love is complicated, love lost leaves much to scorn and curse in this world. Circumstance is the root of so much mischief and so much heartache, this and the fickleness of men. Absolutely beautiful. .
Pro's : Very accessible, very personalized portraits, genuine emotion and insightful that is missing in most mythology. Even better is the Woman's vantage point in all the letters

Con's : Repetitive after a certain point. A lot of time is spent explaining the myths that the letters touch, which is both bad and good.

This book... if you are a person that has a semi-interest in mythology but find much of it too dry, this is the book that rips open the stuffiness, the tight Victorian corset placed on
Jun 04, 2015 Rick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Clare Pollard’s brilliant version of Ovid’s Heroides led me to this more academic translation of Ovid’s epistolary set of poems. If Pollard’s version was revelatory, Isbell’s is useful companion. Actually useful is not quite fair. It is more than that. Ovid in Isbell’s hands is still fresh and entertaining reading.

And it is the complete set of poems, including the later six poems that represent three exchanges between men and women, and the initial sequence that are all one way, letters from wo

Eh. Lettura estiva per scuola da cui non mi aspettavo nulla e nonostante il voto non proprio positivo non posso nemmeno dire che non mi sia piaciuto in modo catastrofico. Il problema è che una volta arrivata alla quarta, quinta lettera mi sono accorta che della lettura mi rimaneva solo una sensazione di dejà vu e da li in poi le lettere mi sono sembrate un po' tutte uguali. Lo schema diventa monotono e ripetitivo e anche le eroine della mitologia risultano piatte e poco caratterizzate. C
Caroline Beatle
Dec 28, 2015 Caroline Beatle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grecia, roma, 2015
No puedo decir mucho más sobre esta obra tan genial. Ovidio es Ovidio. No hay nada más que decir sobre el mejor poeta de la edad augústea (lo siento, Virgilio). La manera en que consigue plasmar la desesperación y la angustia de las mujeres es sublime, además de que le da una vuelta de tuerca a la habitual percepción de los mitos.

Ahora, esta edición de Castillo es muuuy bonita. La introducción es perfecta para todo aquél que no está familiarizado con la transmisión de obras clásicas, Ovidio, el
Aug 09, 2015 Mitchell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ovid is so entertaining! I am not able to read it in Latin, so I am sure I am missing a ton of the formalistic wonders people talk about. But this book was so readable and interesting. Ostensibly, letters written from lovers (mostly women) to their lovers (mostly male), they read more like great monologues from classical plays. I was especially fascinated by the story of Cydippe and Acontius, which I never knew before I read this. The lament of Sappho to Phaon is very touching.

I know that classi
Brad Hodges
Jan 13, 2015 Brad Hodges rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I've long been interested in Greek and Roman myths, but the complexity of the tales is forbidding. The family trees and the names (which over time have taken on the quality of parody) are so hopelessly intertwined it's difficult to keep it all straight. But I'm rolling up my sleeves and reading a few volumes, including the Heroides, by Ovid, who was one of the great Roman poets.

Ovid's more famous recitation of myth was Metamorphoses, but Heroides has its own pleasure. Told in epistolary form, it
Marc Gerstein
Mar 15, 2014 Marc Gerstein rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ancient-classics
I'm about halfway done in connection with a Greek-Roman classics book club that is doing this over several months. I've developed my own theory about this that so far seems to be holding up.

The conventional wisdom on this, as far as I've been able to gather, is that Ovid was doing some sort of exercise writing in the voice of specific characters. And it is interesting to see these "secondary" female characters get such profound voices.

But I think there was something else going on. Start with the
Ovid's Heroides by itself deserves four stars, and one off for this translation. Mainly because I just really dislike when Latin poetry gets translated into rhyming verse. It just seems so hokey, and I feel like the need to work everything so it rhymes warps the translation a lot. Also, at one point in the preface, the translator "pleads guilty to having spiced these ladylike letters with the salt of neologism and the sauce of slang." Ugh. "Sauce of slang"? Really? In addition he takes the lette ...more
Oct 27, 2012 Zee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting in how Ovid wanted to give these mythological ladies a voice of their own in what is essentially epic tales dominated by men and their heroic deeds. It's quite repetitive in that they all essentially end up whining about how cruelly they've been slighted, cast aside or forgotten by their men. One side of me feels sorry for them because it was a time where women didn't have any say in their fate. Yet the repetitive nature of the whining got on my nerves a little.

Overall I believ
Joseph F.
Mar 26, 2014 Joseph F. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever wondered what it would be like if Ariadne wrote a letter to Theseus ripping him a new one for leaving her stranded on the island of Naxos. This book gives you a chance to read a series of poetic heart-wrenching letters written by Ovid and put into the mouths of famous women of mythology to the men who wronged them. A fine book for those who want to add something new and novel to their books on classical mythology. This translation reads beautifully.
Tim Broome
This book came to my attention on a friend's bookshelf. I decided I would ameliorate my knowledge of Greek mythology with this text, but instead found a fanfic to the classics through lovelorn character monologues. Mediocre rating achieved via it's appendices alone, which serves as a supplemental text to other works (Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid and even Ovid's own material). I do, however, wish to read Metamorphoses due to the numerous allusions made to it within the footnotes.
Oct 24, 2014 laskavka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: klasika
Obsahuje 5 listů:
Penelopeia Odysseovi - Penelopeia píše dopis Odysseovi, který se i po skončení války o Troju stále nevrací domů. Taková příjemná část milující ženy zoufající si nad meškáním milovaného muže.
Fyllis Démofoóntovi - On se vrací z trojské války a je bouří zahnán k pobřeží, kde se o něj Fyllis starala, pak ale on odjede získat trůn do Athén a dlouho se nevrací. Fyllis je zoufalá a píše mu, aby se co nejdříve vrátil nebo spáchá sebevraždu. Dojemné a milé.
Oinóné Paridovi - nymfa Oinóné
Aug 05, 2013 Theut rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Leggere Ovidio, in qualunque momento della propria vita, è come stare in alta montagna e respirare a pieni polmoni aria fresca e pura.
Questa non è la sua opera meglio riuscita, eppure la finezza con cui Ovidio ha costruito i testi è palpabile in tutta la serie di rimandi interni tra le diverse epistole.
Di Arianna non si viene a conoscere il destino solo da lei stessa, ma si può completare il puzzle grazie alle lettere che parlano di lei. Così anche per Teseo, Medea e altri. In forza di questa
Ovid's imagined letters, written from mythological women (mostly) to their lovers. This isn't great for newcomers to either Ovid or Greek/Roman mythology, but those who already enjoy both will be interested to see some of Ovid's nuances: for example, I liked how he characterized Helen's worldliness against Hero's naivete (and thanks to the editor of this edition for making sure I kept an eye out for it). Also excellent: the way that Ovid weaves myths and prophecies together; for example, in Pari ...more
Cristina - Athenae Noctua
Maestro d'arte erotica, come lui stesso si vuole presentare, Ovidio non poteva che applicare questa sua inclinazione alla narrazione mitologica e alla redazione di componimenti elegiaci. Nacquero così le ventuno epistole raccolte sotto il titolo di Heroides ('Eroine').
Con questo testo ci troviamo di fronte ad un'opera originale e di ampio respiro, parte di un progetto che non si può scindere né dalle Metamorfosi né dagli Amores, né dal poema didascalico dell'Ars Amatoria. Il tema della raccolta,
Martin Michalek
This will not do.

Though the content is excellent, this translation is staler than a week-old shit. I've read Dido's letter to Aeneas in Latin and the English of this version completely misses the sadness, complexity, and poesy of the original. I suspect the others suffer from the same problem. 5/5 to Ovid, as per yoozsh. But 3/5 to the tweedy monster who rendered this into literal English.
Sep 28, 2014 Diksha rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Mayhaps my mistake with this book was to read it in librivox's free prose format. I might give the originally translated poetry a chance if I get my hands on it sometime.
Helena Reyes gopar
Named after a letter-writing character in this book ;)
Mar 03, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Apr 30, 2016 Carly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I read this novel for a class, and I really liked this translation. While it probably lacks in style and language of other English translations, I liked how straightforward and articulate this translation was. I enjoyed how Ovid chose to write from mythological women's POV, especially in a stance that yearns or desires for more. I like the letters that respond to each other too (Paris to Helen / Helen to Paris, etc.). Overall, very enjoyable book.
Clara Mazzi
Tutta la simpatia che nutro per Ovidio non basta a questo suo lavoro, abbastanza monotono, statico, poco originale non tanto perchè "si sa già come va a finire" ma perchè l'introspezione nei personaggi non è poi così interessante - come lo è, invece, l'apparato critico, decisamente la parte migliore del libro.
Sep 10, 2011 Sebastián rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
El mejor trabajo de mi autor favorito romano. Podría decir tanto de ésta obra, pero debo reservar muchas palabras para el futuro. Si "Las Metamorfosis es increíble", ésta obra muestra la razón del talento de Ovidio para jugar con géneros literarios sin perder la esencia de ninguno. Rescata personajes griegos en un mundo romano.
I find Ovid entertaining to read, but these poems began to sound similar. The verse form can be restrictive, but Ovid's voice certainly shone through some of the less rigid applications of the translator's rules. Worth examining as a counterpoint to the very masculine viewpoints seen in Greek literature.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Poems
  • The Complete Odes and Epodes
  • Idylls
  • The "Eclogues" And "Georgics" (Oxford World's Classics)
  • The Odes of Pindar
  • Pharsalia: The Civil War
  • Epigrams
  • Catullus: The Complete Poems
  • Four Tragedies and Octavia
  • The Nature of the Gods
  • Euripides IV: Rhesus/The Suppliant Women/Orestes/Iphigenia in Aulis
  • The Sixteen Satires
  • The Comedies
  • Homeric Hymns
  • Sappho: A New Translation
  • Hesiod: The Works and Days/Theogony/The Shield of Herakles
  • The Pot of Gold and Other Plays
  • The Thebaid: Seven Against Thebes

Share This Book

“Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.” 1217 likes
“The result justifies the deed
(Exitus acta probat)”
More quotes…