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4.04  ·  Rating details ·  51,856 Ratings  ·  1,282 Reviews
Metamorphoses (from Greek μετά meta and μορφή morphē, meaning "changes of shape"), is a Latin narrative poem in fifteen books describing the history of the world from its creation to the deification of Julius Caesar within a loose mythico-historical framework. Completed in AD 8, it is recognized as a masterpiece of Golden Age Latin literature.

This cohesive collection of s
Paperback, 723 pages
Published August 3rd 2004 by Penguin (first published 8)
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May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've made my own version of the distracted boyfriend meme. It's called 'crazy girlfriend is obsessed with Greek mythology.'




Zeus, Hera, Demeter, Poseidon, Hestia, Hades, Persephone/Kora, Athena, Hermes, Apollo, Artemis, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Ares, Dionysus, Helios, Selene, Eos/Aurora, Gaia, Cronus, Rhea, Nyx, Hypnos, Morpheus, Hecate, Thanatos, Nemesis, Prometheus, Eros/Cupid, Hebe, Muses, The Fates/Moirai, Narcissus, Echo, Psyche, Daphne, Boreas, Orithyia, Medea, Orpheus, Antigone, Aria
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.
"Throughout all ages,
If poets have vision to prophesy truth, I shall live in my

Thus the closing lines of Ovid's "Metamorphoses". He was certainly right in his statement, but it feels like an appropriate irony that his work has been transformed, metamorphosed, over the millennia since he wrote his compilation of Roman and Greek literature. I have known most of the collected stories since my early days at university, but only now finished reading the "Metamorphoses" as a whole, from cover
Ahmad Sharabiani
1000. Metamorphoses = Books of Transformations, Ovid
The Metamorphoses (Latin: Metamorphōseōn librī: "Books of Transformations") is a Latin narrative poem by the Roman poet Ovid, considered his magnum opus. Comprising 11,995 lines, 15 books and over 250 myths, the poem chronicles the history of the world from its creation to the deification of Julius Caesar within a loose mythico-historical framework.
Metamorphoses, Ovid (from Greek)
Characters: Apollo, Hercules, Venus, Mars, Orpheus
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Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The great thing about Ovid's “Metamorphoses” is that it doesn't force you to take it so seriously. It’s still remarkably vivid, considering its age, and there is hardly a dull moment in it. You can actually read it just for pure pleasure. Its wild stories about transformations from one shape to another can be so entertaining, that your first reaction in reading it probably won't be to ask yourself weighty questions like "Hmm, I wonder what insights this ancient book offers into the structure of ...more
Nov 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faves, own
What the fuck Ovid. Save some brilliance for the rest of us.
Riku Sayuj
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 22, 2015 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
Nov 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, aere-perennius
“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
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 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this for one of those bucket-list reasons, having read a bunch of scholarly articles in college that constantly quote from Ovid... but I had NEVER READ THE ORIGINAL.

Alas. How many years has it been, with that guilt slowly creeping up on me?

So I did it. I read Ovid.

And I fell in love.

What the hell was I thinking? Avoiding this? I mean, how many damn mythology books have I read that go on and on about all the Greek classics, touted for their clear and concise styles, but really what I sho
Manuel Antão
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2005
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Cleverus Dickus: "Metamorphoses (Norton Critical Edition)" by Ovid (Author), Charles Martin (Translator)

“God himself helps those who dare.”

in "Metamorphoses (Norton Critical Edition)" by Ovid (Author), Charles Martin (Translator)

When I think on Ovid and Shakespeare, my own poetic streak resurfaces. Read at your own peril (word of warning: If you don't know either your Shakespeare or your Ovid, what follows won't make much sense):

Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Introduction & Notes
Further Reading
Translator's Note


Glossary Index
Map of Ovid's Mediterranean World
Mar 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Read as part of the ABN Summer Reading Challenge recommended by Gabby.

I'd meant to read this for years but it seemed somewhat daunting clocking in at 700 odd pages but honestly I breezed through this book like it was half that length. It's utterly accessible for which I give the translator David Raeburn huge credit. His translation is pacy, rhythmic and filled with fantastically helpful notes which make it utterly engaging for the lay classicist reader like myself.
And Ovid... He was born in 43B
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Teresa Proença
Quase três meses depois cheguei ao fim da caminhada por este mundo único e maravilhoso.
Não foi uma leitura fácil. Primeiro lia; depois decifrava; a seguir pesquisava e finalmente resumia. Fui feliz em todas as fases. Os meus amigos e a minha família não dirão o mesmo pois, sempre que os apanhei a jeito, "torturei-os" contando-lhes algumas destas histórias trágicas de deuses e humanos; das suas paixões, ódios, ciúmes, vinganças, desgostos, guerras,... e tudo o que, dois mil anos depois, ainda mo
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, favorites
This book is phenomenal.

I had read parts of the Metamorphoses in high school, and my focus then was on the language and structure of the text, not so much on the stories. That's just what happens when you're trying to learn how to translate texts from Latin.

When I picked up the book again earlier this year, I had no such restrictions (and no deadline) and I was looking forward to reading Ovid's history of the world - from its creation to Julius Caesar.

What I was looking forward to even more, wa
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
Jan 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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!
David Lentz
Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Czarny Pies
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers who have previously read modern anthologies of Greek and Roman myths.
Shelves: greek-and-roman
This book should be an absolute delight to anyone interested in European literature or art. Written in the first century AD it represents the first effort to anthologize Greek mythology and integrate the whole into the history of the Roman empire. I only regret that as undergraduate I never took a course with this work on the program.

Having read the Metamorphoses without the benefit a classics professor to guide me I am quite glad that it was not the first collection of Greek myths that I read.
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable translation indeed. Highly recommended. But much will depend on how much you are put off by some expanding of the original, and some rhyme (both internal and line-end). For example:

"A fisherman, who with his pliant rod
was angling there below, caught sight of them;
and then a shepherd leaning on his staff
and, too, a peasant leaning on his plow
saw them and were dismayed: they thought that these
must surely be some gods, sky-voyaging.

Now on their left they had already passed
the isle
Read for class.
Akemi G.
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-fiction
I've been reading retelling of Greek mythology all my life, so it's probably time to read it in a more authentic form. There are many English translations for Metamorphoses. I think the enjoyment of reading depends very much on the quality of translation, so this review compares the various versions.

Translated by Charles Martin (Norton) 2004
I bought this after reading this comparison. It's subtly but undeniable frustrating to me. I guess the first paragraph (invocation) is not the best passage
Ian "Marvin" Graye

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"
Roman Clodia
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ovid was ignored by classical scholars for a long time as being frivolous and just not serious enough. He has now been rehabilitated and Metamorphoses is recognised as being one of the most complex, sophisticated and problematic poems of the age of Augustus.

It's also one of the wittiest and most accessible, and this translation deserves prizes for being both faithful to the original Latin and yet reading beautifully in modern English blank verse.

Too often regarded as a compendium of Greek and Ro
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Metamorphoses is an epic poem written by Latin poet Publius Ovidius Naso, also known as merely Ovid. It's compounded by fifteen books that narrates this author's perspective of the world, from the Creation of it to his 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, ...more
Aug 16, 2011 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
Torn as to how to rate this one. Based on creativity, prose style, and humor: 5 stars. Based on overabundance of disturbing, disgusting content: 1 star.

This book is not for the faint of art, or the casual mythology fan.

Ovid's aim was to encompass all of mythology into a single narrative, and he very nearly succeeded. The only places where he cheats a little are on the myths that already had either several or definitive versions - the Labors of Hercules, the Trojan War, and the wanderings of Odys
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  • The Complete Poems
  • The Satyricon
  • The Golden Ass
  • The Eclogues and The Georgics
  • The Poems
  • The Odes of Horace
  • The Sixteen Satires
  • Homeric Hymns
  • Theogony and Works and Days
  • The Way Things Are: The De Rerum Natura
  • An Ethiopian Romance
  • Medea and Other Plays
  • Pharsalia: The Civil War
  • Epigrams
  • Idylls
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
“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. ” 342 likes
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.”
"Be patient and tough; one day this pain will be useful to you.”
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