The Metamorphoses

Shifting Poetic Stories

By Ovid
Translated by Horace Gregory
Ancient Rome, 8 CE
Epic Poetry, Mythology

Main Attractions

Translated By Horace Gregory By Ovid

1.  Greek & Roman Mythological Pantheon
2.  Themes of love and transformation  
3.  Women often take centre stage
4.  Scenes that melt into dreamlike reality
5.  Old classics, into a new heart melting way
6.  Many scenes of emotional logic
7.  Endlessly quotable lines of wisdom
8.  Some scenes of tragic violence
9.  Plenty of new faces to explore
10.  A chance to revisit old ones


Cuisine & Delicacies
Ranked as: Han Jeon Shik
Ovid created this poem to contain as many Greek & Roman mythological stories as he could include.  He fused them together in a variety of interesting ways.  Many of the transformations actually make so much logical sense because of how much the transformation reveals the true nature of the character.  Sometimes, the transformation reveals even more about the character.    

Why Visit Here

Everyone with a passion for exploring mythology from a new point of view could certainly find themselves swept off their feet by many of the unexpected stories.  It reads like an elegant blend of a mythological dictionary and old fashioned storytelling.   

Destination Summary

We begin with the creation of the cosmos then drift into the formation of the gods until we eventually see humans and civilization take root.  During this progression of time, we can see Ovid shifting his creatures from one form into another.  It’s exquisite to see his wordplay during these opening scenes.  Once civilization and the gods are all up and around, the majority of the pages are about the shifting interactions among everyone.  

Travel Advisory

There are some scenes of violence against women which can be unsettling.  They are violence from well over 2000 years ago, so they aren’t told in modern standards or glorified in anyway.

Packing List
✓ Bare basics of Greek & Roman mythology
✓ An open mind for new curiosities
✓ Desire to be swept off your feet with tales

Recommended Resources
Alternate Books
✓ Conference of the Birds By Farid Ud-Din Attar (c. 1146) - This Persian epic poem sings with beautiful parables of wisdom.  It features birds of all kinds who, eventually,  decide to go on a journey for the majestic, mythical Simorgh. 

✓ The Metamorphosis By Franz Kafka (1915) - This book explores the aftereffects of a terrible transformation. Could make an interesting comparison of Ovid’s sweeping tale with Kafka’s hyper focused, first person, surreal tale.

✓ The Aeneid By Virgil (19 BC) - This book explores the creation of Rome, Ovid’s homeland.

✓ Works and Days by Hesiod (c. 700 BC) - This epic poem explores the art of agriculture and may have been a source of inspiration for Ovid in creating his Metamorphoses.

✓ Fasti By Ovid (Unfinished, 8 AD) - This poem was Ovid’s attempt at creating an outline of the Roman holidays and months in our eventual calendar of January, February, etc.  It contains many Roman customs and religious views that Ovid would have been a part of.