15 Facts About Metamorphoses


Metamorphoses is an 8 AD Latin narrative poem by the Roman poet Ovid, considered his magnum opus.

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Ovid took inspiration from the genre of metamorphosis poetry, and some of the Metamorphoses derives from earlier treatment of the same myths; however, he diverged significantly from all of his models.

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One of the most influential works in Western culture, the Metamorphoses has inspired such authors as Dante Alighieri, Giovanni Boccaccio, Geoffrey Chaucer, and William Shakespeare.

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Today the Metamorphoses continues to inspire and be retold through various media.

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Ovid's decision to make myth the dominant subject of the Metamorphoses was influenced by the predisposition of Alexandrian poetry.

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The Metamorphoses was longer than any previous collection of metamorphosis myths and positioned itself within a historical framework.

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Some Metamorphoses derives from earlier literary and poetic treatment of the same myths.

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Metamorphoses is comprehensive in its chronology, recounting the creation of the world to the death of Julius Caesar, which had occurred only a year before Ovid's birth; it has been compared to works of universal history, which became important in the 1st century BC.

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The only rival we have in our tradition which we can find to match the pervasiveness of the literary influence of the Metamorphoses is perhaps the Old Testament and the works of Shakespeare.

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The Metamorphoses was the greatest source of these narratives, such that the term "Ovidian" in this context is synonymous for mythological, in spite of some frequently represented myths not being found in the work.

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Many of the stories from the Metamorphoses have been the subject of paintings and sculptures, particularly during this period.

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The Metamorphoses permeated the theory of art during the Renaissance and the Baroque style, with its idea of transformation and the relation of the myths of Pygmalion and Narcissus to the role of the artist.

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In 1998, Mary Zimmerman's stage adaptation Metamorphoses premiered at the Lookingglass Theatre, and the following year there was an adaptation of Tales from Ovid by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

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In spite of the Metamorphoses enduring popularity from its first publication no manuscript survives from antiquity.

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In 1994, a collection of translations and responses to the poem, entitled After Ovid: New Metamorphoses, was produced by numerous contributors in emulation of the process of the Garth volume.

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