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THE METAMORPHOSES

 

Translated by Ian Johnston, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

 

[For publication and copyright details, please use the following link: Table of Contents. Note that the numbers without brackets refer to the English text; those in square brackets refer to the Latin text.]

 

BOOK ONE

 

[Invocation; Primal Chaos; formation of Earth; regions of Earth; distribution of winds; creation of life; Prometheus makes human beings; the Golden Age; the Silver Age; the Bronze and Iron Ages; war of the Giants; Jupiter’s anger at the human race; the story of Lycaon; the Deluge; Deucalion and Pyrrha restore the human race; the creation of other life; Apollo kills Pytho; Apollo and Daphne; Daphne is transformed; Inachus and Io; Jupiter has sex with Io, changes her into a cow, and gives the cow to Juno; Juno sets Argus to guard Io; Io reveals herself to Inachus; the story of Syrinx; Mercury kills Argus; Juno ends Io’s torments; the story of Phaëton begins.]

 

My spirit drives me now to sing about
the forms of things changed into new bodies.
Since you gods caused these transformations, too,
inspire what I am going to write about,
and bring forth an uninterrupted song,
from the primal origins of the world
down to this present age.

                                                Before the sea,                                   PRIMAL CHAOS
land, and heavens, which cover everything,
the entire world of nature looked the same.
They called that Chaos, a crude, confused mass,                                 10
nothing but lifeless stuff and scattered seeds
of matter not yet properly combined,
all piled up in the same place together.
There was no Titan yet providing light                                                                 [10]
to the world, Phoebe did not grow larger
and renew her crescent horns, nor did Earth
remain hanging in the surrounding air,
balanced by her own weight. Amphitrite
had not yet pushed her arms through long margins
of the coastal shores, and where there was land                                   20
there was also sea and air, but the ground
was not solid, the water was not fit
for swimming, and the air lacked any light.(1)
No matter retained its own proper shape—
one thing would keep obstructing something else,
for in one body cold things fought with hot,
wet with dry, soft with hard, and heavy things
with those which had no weight.                                                                         [20]

                                                  This conflict                                      FORMATION OF THE EARTH
god and more favourable nature stopped.
For he cut land off from sky, and water                                               30
from land, and separated the bright heavens
from heavy air. Then, once he had drawn off
these elements and taken them away
from the confused mass, he set them apart,
fixing them in place in harmonious peace.
The fiery might of vaulted, weightless sky
pushed out, creating for itself a place
in the loftiest heights. Closest to it
in lightness and location is the air.
The Earth, denser than these two, attracted                                         40
the larger elements and was pressed down                                                          [30]
by its own weight. Water flowing round it
took possession of the furthest regions
and enclosed the solid sphere completely.

After the god—whichever god it was—                                              THE REGIONS OF EARTH
had divided Chaos and arranged it
in this way, forcefully dividing it
in sections, first of all he shaped the land
in the form of a large sphere, to make sure
it was the same on every side, and then                                               50
he commanded seas to be spread around
and swell with blustery winds, encircling
shorelands of the places they surrounded.
He added springs, huge pools, and lakes, and set
sloping banks to contain descending streams.
These differ in different locations—
some the earth itself absorbs, while others                                                           [40]
reach the sea and, entering the expanse
of open water, beat against the coasts
instead of riverbanks. He also ordered                                                60
plains to be extended, valleys to sink,
leaves to cover trees, and stony mountains
to rise up. And just as heavens are split,
with two zones in the north, two in the south,
and a fifth zone hotter than each of these,
so the god was careful to distinguish
the enclosed matter with the same number
and on earth marked out as many climates.(2)
Of these, the one in the centre is too hot
to live in, and two are covered in deep snow.                                      70             [50]
Between these areas he placed two more,
assigning them a temperate climate,
mixing heat and cold. Over these hangs air,
heavier than fire, to the same extent
that earth is heavier than water.

There he also ordered clouds to gather                                               DISTRIBUTION OF WINDS
and vapours, too, and thunder, which so stirs
the minds of human beings, as well as
winds producing lightning bolts and flashes.
The maker of the world did not permit                                                80
these things to take possession of the air
indiscriminately. It is, even now,
difficult to stop them ripping the world
to pieces, though each of them directs his blasts
at different places, so great is the strife                                                                [60]
among the brothers. Eurus moved away
towards Aurora, to Nabath’s kingdom,
to Persia and the heights lying underneath
the rays of morning sunlight.(3) Zephyrus
is closest to the evening star and shores                                               90
warmed by the setting sun. Cold Boreas
invaded Scythia and northern lands.
And rain-filled Auster with his constant clouds
soaks regions lying on the facing side.(4)
Over these he placed bright, weightless aether,
without a trace of earth’s impurities.

Scarcely had he separated all things                                                    THE CREATION OF LIFE
within specific limits in this way,
when the stars, which had remained long hidden,                                                 [70]
buried in thick mist, began to blaze forth                                              100
through the entire sky. And to make sure
no place would lack its forms of living things,
the stars and the forms of gods occupy
the floor of heaven, the waters yielded
to let glittering fish live there, the land
took in wild beasts, the gusting air took birds.
What was still missing was an animal                                                   PROMETHEUS MAKES HUMANS
more spiritual than these, more capable
of higher thinking, which would be able
to dominate the others. Man was born—                                            110
either that creator of things, the source
of a better world, made him from god’s seed,
or the Earth, newly formed and divided                                                               [80]
only recently from lofty aether
still held seeds related to the heavens,
which Prometheus, Iapetus’ son, mixed
with river water and made an image
of the gods who rule all things.(5) Other creatures
keep their heads bent and gaze upon the ground,
but he gave man a face which could look up                                        120
and ordered him to gaze into the sky
and, standing erect, raise his countenance
towards the stars. Thus, what had been crude earth
and formless was transformed and then took on
the shapes of human life, unknown till then.

The Golden Age was born first. It fostered                                          THE GOLDEN AGE
faith and right all on its own, without law                                                             [90]
and without revenge. Fear and punishment
did not exist. There were no threatening words
etched in brass and set up for men to read,                                         130
nor were a crowd of suppliants afraid
of the looks of men who judged them.(6) They lived
in safety, with no one there to punish.
No chopped-down pine tree had yet descended
down its mountain slope into the flowing waves,
so it might travel to a foreign world,
and mortals were familiar with no shores
except their own. There were no deep ditches
enclosing towns, no straight trumpets of war
or horns of curving brass, no swords or helmets.                                 140
People passed the time in gentle leisure
and security, with no need for troops.                                                                 [100]
The earth itself, also free and untouched
by hoes, not yet wounded by any ploughs,
produced all things spontaneously, and men,
content with food which grew without duress,
gathered arbutus fruits, mountain berries,
cornels, berries clinging to harsh brambles,
and fallen acorns from the spreading tree
of Jupiter. It was always springtime,                                                    150
and gentle breezes of warm air caressed
flowers which did not grow from any seeds.
Soon unploughed Earth brought forth crops, as well,
and the land, without being refreshed, grew white                                                [110]
with heavy ears of grain. Rivers of milk
would sometimes flow. Sometimes streams of nectar
and yellow honey dripped from green oak trees.

Once Saturn was cast in gloomy Tartarus,                                           THE SILVER AGE
Jupiter ruled the world. A Silver Age
then followed, less favourable than gold,                                              160
but still more valuable than yellow bronze.(7)
Jupiter shortened the previous springtime
and split each year into different seasons,
with winter, summer, changeable autumn,
and short-lived spring. Then, for the first time,
air glowed white, scorched with blazing arid heat,
and ice hung down, congealed by wind. Then men                                              [120]
first moved to houses. Their homes were caverns,
dense thickets, and brushwood bound with bark.
Then they began to bury Ceres’ seeds                                                 170
in lengthy furrows, and young bullocks groaned,
straining at the yoke.

                                       After these two ages,                                   THE BRONZE AND IRON AGES
a bronze race followed, with fiercer natures,
more inclined to wage horrific warfare,
but not to act without due piety.
Finally came the brutal Age of Iron.
During this era of debased desires,
every form of crime broke out, and honour,
truth, and faith ran off. In their place appeared                                                     [130]
cheating, treachery, deceit, viciousness,                                               180
and criminal cravings for possessions.
Men set sails to catch the winds, though sailors
at this point did not understand them well,
and ships’ keels, which for a long time had stood
high in the hills, scudded through unknown seas.
Careful surveyors marked long boundaries
on lands as common to men earlier
as air and sunlight. And the fertile soil
no longer was required to provide
just crops and food it was obliged to give,                                           190
for men went to the bowels of the earth
and dug for wealth, which spurred them on to vice.                                             [140]
These the Earth had hidden and moved away
to Stygian shades.(8) Now harmful iron emerged
and gold, which brings more injuries than iron.
Then war, which fights with both, comes on the scene,
brandishing and rattling weapons in hands
all stained with blood. Plunder becomes a way of life.
Guests are not safe from those who welcome them,
nor is the father from his son-in-law.                                                    200
Love of brothers is also rare. Men hope
their wives will die, and wives all feel the same
about their husbands. Dreadful step-mothers
mix lethal poisons, and sons keep asking
about their father’s age before his time.
Piety lies conquered, and virgin Astraea,
the last celestial being, abandoned Earth                                                             [150]
now soaked in blood.

                                And to make the lofty aether                               THE WAR OF THE GIANTS
no more safe than Earth, they say that Giants
tried to overrun the realms of heaven,                                                  210
by piling one mountain on another,
up to the soaring stars. Then Jupiter,
the all-powerful father of the gods,
hurled down his lightning bolt, smashed Olympus,
and split Ossa away from Pelion
lying underneath.(9) When those frightful Giants
lay buried in the structure they had made,
men claim that Earth, drenched with great quantities
of her children’s blood, grew damp, then gave life
to the warm gore, and changed it to the form                                       220
of human beings, so that some monuments
of that ferocious race might still remain.
But those progeny, scorning gods above,                                                            [160]
were violent—eager, before all else,
to keep on killing. You could well conceive
that they were born from blood.

                                    When Saturn’s son,                                        JUPITER’S ANGER AT HUMAN BEINGS
father of the gods, sees what is going on
from his loftiest citadel, he groans,
and recalling the polluted banquet
at Lycaon’s table, as yet unknown,                                                     230
because it is so recent, in his mind
senses an enormous rage, a feeling
befitting Jupiter. He calls a meeting.
Those summoned are not tempted to delay.

There is high in the heavens a pathway
conspicuous for its very whiteness
and visible when skies are clear. This track
men call the Milky Way. For gods above
the road leads to the halls and royal home                                                           [170]
of the great Thunderer. To left and right                                              240
stand crowded throngs beside the open gates
of homes belonging to the nobler gods.
Common gods inhabit various places,
but here the powerful and famous ones
who live in heaven make their dwelling place.
If I might be allowed a bold expression,
this is a place I should not hesitate
to call great heaven’s imperial palace.(10)
And so, when the gods above are seated
in the marble inner room, Jupiter,                                                        250
sitting high above them all and leaning
on his ivory sceptre, shakes his head
three or four times, tossing that fearful hair
which sets the earth, sea, and stars in motion,                                                      [180]
then opens his mouth, and speaks these words,
stating his indignation:

 

                                            “My worries
about the earthly realm were no greater
when each of those serpent-footed Giants
was ready to throw his one hundred arms
around the captured sky, for even though                                       260
the enemy was savage, still that war
hung on one group and had a single cause.
Now I must wipe out the race of mortals
over the entire world, in all places
where Nereus roars. I swear I’ll do it,
by all the infernal rivers flowing
through Stygian groves underneath the earth!(11)
We have already tried all other options,
but a wound beyond all cure must be removed,                                              [190]
sliced off with a knife, so that healthy parts                                     270
are not corrupted, too. My subjects
include demi-gods, rustic deities,
nymphs, fauns, satyrs, and wood-dwelling spirits
in the mountains. These we do not yet think
worthy of a place in heaven—but still,
we may surely let them live on in those lands
we have assigned to them. Do you believe,
you gods above, that they will be quite safe,
when Lycaon, famous for his cruelty,
sets traps for me, the god who governs you                                    280
and has the lightning bolt at his command?”

 

All the gods respond. With great passion
they demand punishment for the person
who has dared such things. It was like the time                                                   [200]
an impious gang were burning to snuff out
the Roman name with the blood of Caesar.
The sudden terror of so great a fall
stunned the human race, and the entire globe
shook with horror.(12) The people’s loyalty
was no less pleasing to you, Augustus,                                                290
than those gods’ feelings were to Jupiter.
When he has spoken out and raised his hand
to check the noise, all the gods stop talking.
Once stifled by that royal authority,
the murmuring dies down, and Jupiter
breaks the silence once again by saying:

 

“You need not worry. That man Lycaon                                         LYCAON
has been punished. But I will inform you                                                         [210]
what he did and tell you his penalty.
Reports of that bad time had reached our ears.                               300
I hoped that they were false, so I slip down
from the top of Mount Olympus and move
across the earth, a god in human form.
It would take too long to describe in full
how much evil I discover everywhere.
The report itself was less disturbing
than the truth. I had passed by Maenala,
a dreadful place where wild beasts have their lairs,
Lycaeus with its ice-cold groves of pine,
and Mount Cyllene. From there, just as                                          310
late twilight is dragging in the night,
I reach the realm of the Arcadian king
and his inhospitable home. I signal
a god has just arrived, and common folk                                                        [220]
have started praying. At first, Lycaon
ridicules their pious vows. Then he says:

 

‘Using an obvious test, I will confirm
whether this man is mortal or a god,
and there will be no doubt about the truth.’

 

He is prepared to kill me in the night                                              320
without warning, when I am fast asleep.
He finds that way of testing for the truth
amusing. And not satisfied with that,
he takes a sword and slices open the throat
of a hostage sent from the Molossians,
makes some of the half-dead limbs more tender
in boiling water, and roasts the rest of him
above an open fire. When he sets this flesh                                    LYCAON IS TRANSFORMED
on dining tables, with avenging fire                                                                 [230]
I bring the roof down on his household gods,                                 330
who are worthy of their master. He runs off
quite terrified, and then, once he reaches
the quiet countryside, begins to howl,
trying without success to speak. His mouth
gathers up the fury he holds inside,
and his blood lust for habitual slaughter
turns him against herd beasts, so even now
he delights in blood. His clothes have disappeared,
changed to hair, his arms to legs. He is now
a wolf and still retains some vestiges                                               340
of his old form—the same grey colouring,
the same violence in his expression,
the same glare in his eyes, the same savagery
in his appearance. Thus, one house collapsed,
but more than one home deserves to perish.                                                   [240]
Wherever Earth lies open, the Furies
exercise their sway.(13) You might well believe
that men had sworn to act as criminals.
Let them all quickly pay the penalty
they richly merit! So stands my judgment.”                                     350

 

Some of the gods speak up, endorsing
what Jupiter has said, spurring him on
and encouraging his rage, while others
play their parts with silent affirmation.
But still, for all of them the destruction
of the human race is something grievous.
They ask about the future of the world.
How will Earth look, if she lacks human life?
Who will now place incense on the altars?
Is Jupiter prepared to let all things                                                       360
by preyed upon by savage animals?
The king of the gods commands them not to ask
such questions and, to relieve their worries,                                                         [250]
tells them he will take care of everything.
He promises a race of beings unlike
the previous ones and says their origin
will be a wonder.

                               And now Jupiter                                                  THE DELUGE
is about to scatter his lightning bolts
on every country, but he is afraid
the sacred aether, by some accident,                                                   370
may be set on fire from so many flames
and distant polar regions may burn up.
Then, too, he remembers that Fate decrees
there will come a time when the sea and land,
as well as all the palaces of heaven,
will be attacked by flames and set alight,
and Earth’s mass, produced with so much effort,
will be in danger. So he sets aside
those weapons forged by hands of Cyclopes
and approves a different punishment—                                                380            [260]
he will send rains down from the entire sky
and wipe out mortal men beneath the waves.(14)
So he immediately locks up North Wind
in Aeolus’ caves, along with any blasts
which scatter clouds collecting overhead,
and sends out South Wind, flying on sodden wings,
his dreadful face veiled in pitch-black darkness,
his beard heavy with rain, water flowing
from his hoary locks, mists sitting on his forehead,
his flowing robes and feathers dripping dew.(15)                                  390
When Jupiter stretches his hand and strikes
the hanging clouds, heavy, crashing rainstorms
start pouring down from heaven. Iris,
Juno’s messenger, dressed in various colours,                                                     [270]
gathers the water up and brings it back
to keeps clouds well supplied. Crops are flattened,
fond hopes of grieving farmers overthrown,
their long year’s work now wasted and in vain.
And Jupiter’s rage does not confine itself
to his own sky. For Neptune, his brother,                                            400
god of the azure sea, provides him help
with flooding which adds to the pouring rain.
He summons the rivers to a meeting
and, after they have entered their king’s home,
says to them:

 

                           “This is not now the moment
for a long speech from me. What we require
is for you to discharge all your power.
Open your homes, remove all barriers,
and let your currents have free rein to flow.”                                                  [280]

 

Neptune gave his orders, and the rivers                                               410
return, relax the mouths of all their springs,
and race down unobstructed to the sea.
Neptune himself with his trident strikes the land.
Earth trembles and with the tremor lays bare
the sources of her water. Streams spread out
and charge through open plains, sweeping away
all at once groves, planted fields, cattle herds,
men, and homes, along with sacred buildings
and their holy things. If any house remains
still standing and is able to resist                                                          420
such a huge catastrophe, nonetheless,
waves higher than the house cover the roof,
and its towers, under pressure, collapse                                                              [290]
beneath the surge. And now the land and sea
are not distinct—all things have turned into
a boundless sea which has no ocean shore.
Some men sit on hill tops, others in boats,
pulling oars here and there, above the fields
which they just ploughed not long before. One man
now sails above his crops or over roofs                                              430
of sunken villas, another catches fish
from high up in an elm. Sometimes, by chance,
an anchor bites into green meadowland,
or a curved keel scrapes against a vineyard
submerged beneath the sea. And in those places
where slender she-goats have grazed on grasses,
misshapen sea calves let their bodies rest.                                                           [300]
Nereïds are astonished at the groves,
cities, and homes lying beneath the waves.(16)
Dolphins have taken over in the woods,                                               440
racing through lofty branches and bumping
into swaying oaks. Wolves swim among sheep.
Waves carry tawny lions and tigers.
The forceful, mighty power of the boar
is no help at all, nor are the swift legs
of the stag, once they are swept into the sea.
The wandering bird, after a long search
for some place to land, its wings exhausted,
falls down in the sea. The unchecked movement
of the oceans has overwhelmed the hills,                                              450
new waters beat against the mountain tops.                                                         [310]
The deluge carries off most living things.
Those whom it spares, because food is so scarce,
are overcome by gradual starvation.

The fertile territory of Phocis,                                                             DEUCALION AND PYRRHA
while still land, separates Aonia
from Oeta, but when that flood took place
was still part of the sea, a wide expanse
of water which had suddenly appeared.
In that place there is a soaring mountain                                               460
which has two peaks striving to reach the stars.
Its summit rises high above the clouds.
Deucalion lands here in his small boat,
with the wife who shares his bed—for the sea
now covers every other place. They revere
Corycian nymphs and mountain deities                                                                [320]
and prophetic Themis, too, the goddess
who at that time controlled the oracle.

No man was finer than Deucalion,
no man loved justice more, and no woman                                          470
had more reverence for gods than Pyrrha.
When Jupiter observes the earth submerged
in flowing water, with only one man left
from many thousands not so long before
and sees one woman from many thousands
a short while earlier, both innocent,
both worshippers of the gods, he scatters
the clouds, and once North Wind has blown away
the rain, he makes land open to the sky
and heaven to the earth. And the sea’s rage                                         480            [330]
does not persist. The lord of the ocean
sets down his three-pronged weapon, calms the seas,
and summons dark-blue Triton standing there
above the ocean depths, his shoulders covered
by native shells, and orders him to blow
his echoing horn and with that signal
summon back the flooding waters and the sea.(17)
Triton raised his hollow shell, whose spirals
grow as they curl up from the base—that horn,
when filled with air in the middle of the waves,                                     490
makes coastlines under east and western suns
echo its voice—and thus, once the god’s lips,
dew dripping from his soaking beard, touched it,
and, by blowing, sounded out the order                                                              [340]
to retreat, all the waters heard the call,
on land and in the sea. They listened to it,
and all of them pulled back. And so the sea
had a shore once more, full-flowing rivers
remained within their banks, floods subsided,
hills appeared, land rose up, and dry places                                         500
grew in size as the waters ebbed away.
After a long time, exposed tops of trees
revealed themselves, their foliage covered
in layers of mud. The world had been restored.

When Deucalion sees that earth is empty
and observes the solemn silence over
devastated lands, with tears in his eyes                                                                [350]
he speaks to Pyrrha:

 

                            “O wife and sister,
the only woman alive, linked to me
by common race and family origin,                                                 510
then by marriage, and by these dangers now,
we two are the total population
of the entire world, every place spied out
by the setting and rising sun. The sea
has taken all the others. Even now,
there is nothing secure about our lives,
nothing to give us sufficient confidence.
Those heavy clouds still terrify my mind.
O you for whom I have so much compassion,
how would you feel now, if you had been saved                             520
from death without me? How could you endure
the fear all by yourself? Who would console                                                   [360]
your grief? For if the sea had taken you,
dear wife, I would follow you, believe me,
and the sea would have me, too. How I wish
I could use my father’s skill to replace
those people and infuse a living soul
in moulded forms of earth. The human race
lives now in the two of us. Gods above
thought this appropriate, and we remain                                          530
the sole examples left of human beings.”

 

Deucalion said this, and they wept. They thought
it best to pray to the celestial god
and to seek help from sacred oracles.
Without delay they set off together
to the stream of Cephisus, whose waters
were not yet clear but by now were flowing                                                        [370]
within their customary banks. And there,
once they have sprinkled their heads and garments
with libations, they approach the temples                                             540
of the sacred goddess, whose pediments
are stained with filthy moss and whose altars
stand without a fire. As they touch the steps
before the shrine, they both fall on the ground,
and kiss the cold stone, in fear and trembling.
Then they speak these words:

 

                                      “O Themis, if gods
may be overcome with righteous prayers
and change their minds and if their anger
may be averted, reveal to us the art
by which destruction of the human race                                          550
may be repaired and, most gentle goddess,                                                    [380]
assist our drowned condition.”

 

                                                      The goddess
is moved and through the oracle speaks out:

 

“Leave the temple. Cover your head, and loosen
the garments gathered around you. Then throw
behind your backs the bones of your great parent.”

 

For a long time they are both astonished.
Pyrrha’s voice is the first to break the silence,
refusing to act on what the goddess said.
Her mouth trembling, Pyrrha asks the goddess                                    560
to grant her pardon, for she is afraid
to offend her mother’s shade by throwing
her bones away. Meanwhile, they both review
the obscure dark riddle in the language
of the oracle they have been given,
examining the words between themselves.
And then the son of Prometheus consoles                                                           [390]
Epimetheus’ daughter with these words
to reassure her:

 

                                    “Either we have here
some subtle falsehood, or, since oracles                                         570
respect the gods and do not recommend
impious acts, our great mother is the Earth
and, I assume, what people call her bones
are those rocks in the body of the earth.
These stones are what we have been commanded
to throw behind our backs.”

 

                                    Although the way                                             HUMAN LIFE IS RESTORED
Deucalion has interpreted the words
encourages the Titan’s daughter, their hopes
are plagued by fears—that’s how much both of them
have doubts about the heavenly command.                                          580
But then what harm will there be in trying?
They go down, cover their heads, unfasten
their tunics, and, as they have been ordered,
throw stones behind where they are standing.
The stones—and who would ever think this true,                                                [400]
if old traditions did not confirm it?—
began to lose rigidity and hardness.
Gradually they softened, and then, once soft,
they took on a new shape. They grew larger
and before long acquired a gentler nature.                                           590
One could make out a certain human form,
but indistinctly, like the beginnings
of marble carvings not yet completed,
crude statues. But still, those pieces of them
which were earthy and damp from any moisture
were changed into essential body parts.
What was solid and inflexible changed
to bones, and what just a few moments before
had been veins remained, keeping the same name.                                               [410]
Soon, with the help of gods above, the stones                                      600
which the man’s hand had thrown took on the form
of men, and the stones the woman had cast
changed into women. That’s why human beings
are a tough race—we know about hard work
and provide the proof of those origins
from which we first arose.

                       The earth brought forth                                                THE CREATION OF OTHER LIFE
the other animals spontaneously
in various forms. After the moisture
which had been there earlier had grown warm
from the sun’s fire and wet swamps and marshes                                 610
had swelled up from the heat, the fertile seeds
of matter, nourished in quickening soil,                                                                [420]
as in their mother’s womb, increased in size
and, over time, took on a certain shape.
When the Nile with its seven river mouths
leaves the sodden fields and sends its waters
down their old channels and the brand new mud
grows hot from the aetherial sun, farmers,
as they turn the soil, find many animals.
Of these creatures, some are just beginning,                                        620
at the moment of being born. Men see
some which are incomplete and lacking limbs.
Often in the same body one section
is alive, while another is crude earth.
And so it’s true that when heat and moisture                                                       [430]
reach a certain temperature, they give birth,
and from these two things all beings spring up.
Fire may be the enemy of water,
and yet moist heat produces everything—
this discordant concord is appropriate                                                 630
for conceiving living things. And therefore,
when earth, still muddy from the recent flood,
grew warm again from penetrating heat
of the aetherial sun, she then brought forth
countless forms of life, in part restoring
ancient species and in part creating
new monstrosities.

                       Though it was something                                              APOLLO KILLS PYTHO
Earth did not desire to do, at that time
she also created you, great Pytho,
serpent no one had ever known before.                                               640
You took up so much space on mountain lands,                                                  [440]
you terrified those creatures newly made.
The archer god, who before this had not used
his lethal weapons, except to bring down
fallow deer and fleeing goats, killed the snake,
by shooting a thousand arrows into it,
until his quiver was almost empty
and poison poured out from the snake’s black wounds.(18)
And to guarantee that the passing years
could not erase the fame of that great deed,                                         650
he set up sacred games, celebrated
for their competition, called the Pythia,
after the snake which he had overcome.
In these games any young man who prevailed
in boxing, running, or in chariot racing
received the honour of an oak leaf crown.
There was no laurel yet, and so Phoebus                                                             [450]
adorned his graceful temples and long hair
with leaves from any tree.

                                  Apollo’s first love                                             APOLLO AND DAPHNE
was Daphne, the daughter of Peneus.                                                  660
It was not blind chance which made him love her,
but Cupid’s savage rage. The Delian god,
proud of his recent conquest of the snake,
saw Cupid flexing his bow, pulling back
the string, and said to him:

 

                                                        “Impudent boy,
why play with weapons which are made for men?
Carrying that bow suits shoulders like my own,
since I can shoot wild beasts and never miss
and wound my enemy. I am the one
who with my countless arrows has just killed                                  670
that swollen Pytho, whose venomous gut                                                       [460]
covered such vast tracts of ground. Stay content
kindling any kind of love you fancy
with that torch of yours, but do not pre-empt
those praises due to me.”

 

                                       The son of Venus
then replied to him:

 

                                         “O Phoebus, your bow
may strike all things, but mine can strike at you.
Just as all animals are less than gods,
so, to the very same extent, your fame
is less than mine.”

 

                                      Cupid spoke. Keen to act,                            680
he struck the air with beating wings and stood
on the shady peak of Mount Parnassus.
He pulled out two arrows from his quiver,
each with a different force. One of them
makes love run off, the other brings it on.
The arrow which arouses love is gold,                                                                [470]
with a sharp, glittering head, while the arrow
which inhibits love is blunt and has lead
below the shaft. With this second arrow
the god hit the daughter of Peneus,                                                     690
but with the first he struck Apollo’s bones,
piercing right through them, into the marrow.
He is immediately in love, but she
runs away from the very name of love,
delighting in deep places in the woods
and skins of the wild beasts she chases down,
emulating virgin Phoebe.(19) A ribbon
holds her tousled hair in place. Many men
court her, but she dislikes all suitors.
And so, rejecting men, knowing nothing                                              700
of them, she roams the pathless forest glades,
without a care for Hymen, love, or marriage.(20)                                                 [480]
Her father often said:

 

                                 “Daughter, you owe me
a son-in-law.”

 

And often he complained:

 

“Daughter, you owe me grandchildren.”

 

                                          But Daphne,
despising the bridal torch as something
criminal, with a modest blush, would wrap
her loving arms around her father’s neck
and say:

 

“My dearest father, allow me
to enjoy virginity forever.                                                              710
Diana’s father did that earlier.”

 

Her father does, in fact, grant her request,
but your beauty, Daphne, is an obstacle
to what you so desire. The way you look
makes sure your prayers will not be answered.
For Phoebus glimpses Daphne and falls in love.                                                  [490]
He wants to marry her, and what he seeks
he hopes to get. But his own oracles
deceive him. Just as light straw catches fire
once grain is harvested, and hedges blaze                                            720
from torches which some traveller by chance
has brought too near or else left there at dawn,
that’s how Phoebus is changed then into flames.
That’s how his whole chest burns, and by hoping,
he feeds a love that is in vain. He sees
the tangled hair hanging around her neck
and says:

 

           “What would that hair of hers look like,
if only it were beautifully arranged.”

 

He observes her eyes, like bright fiery stars,
gazes at her lips—but the sight of them                                                730
is not enough—and praises fingers, hands,                                                          [500]
her arms, and shoulders (more than half exposed!),
imagining those parts which lie concealed
are even lovelier. She runs away,
swifter than a soft breeze, and does not stop
when he calls her, crying these words:

 

                                         “O nymph,
daughter of Peneus, stay! I beg you.
I do not chase you as an enemy.
Nymph, stop! This is the way a lamb runs off,
fleeing a wolf, or a deer a lion,                                                       740
or a dove on quivering wings takes flight
to escape an eagle—each one of them
racing from its enemy. But the reason
I run after you is love. Alas for me!
I feel so wretched—you might fall headfirst,
or brambles scratch your legs (which don’t deserve
the slightest injury)—and I might be
the one who brings you pain. You rush ahead
through rugged places. Set a slower pace,                                                     [510]
I beg you, and restrain your flight. I, too,                                        750
will follow you more slowly. At least ask
who it is that finds you so delightful.
I am no shepherd or mountain dweller,
or some uncouth local custodian
of herds or flocks. You have no idea,
you thoughtless girl, you do not know the man
you’re running from. That’s why you scamper off.
The Delphic lands, Claros, and Tenedos,
the palace of Pataraea—all serve me.
Jupiter is my father, and through me                                               760
what has been and what is and what will be
are each made known. Through me songs and strings
resound in harmony. True, my arrows
always find their mark, but there’s an arrow,
with truer aim than mine, which has transfixed                                                [520]
my uncommitted heart. The healing arts
are my invention, and throughout the world
I am called the Helper. The power of herbs
is under my control. But my love now,
alas, cannot be cured by herbs, and arts                                         770
which aid all people are no help at all
to their own master.”

 

                                      Peneus’ daughter
with timid steps ran off, away from him,
as he was on the point of saying more.
Though his speech was not yet over, she left,
and he was by himself. And even then
she seemed so beautiful. The winds revealed
her body, as the opposing breezes
blowing against her clothing made it flutter,
and light gusts teased her freely flowing hair.                                        780
She looked even lovelier as she fled.                                                                  [530]
The youthful god can endure no longer
wasting his flattery. Love drives him on.
With increasing speed, he chases after her.
Just as a greyhound, once it spies a hare
in an open field, dashes for its prey,
and the hare, feet racing, runs for cover—
one looking now as if he is about
to clutch her and already full of hope
he has her in his grip—his outstretched face                                        790
brushing against her heels—while she, not sure
whether she has been caught, evades his jaws,
and runs away, his mouth still touching her,
that’s how the god and virgin race away,
he driven on by hope and she by fear.
But the one who follows, who has the help                                                         [540]
of Cupid’s wings, is faster. He gives her
no rest and hangs above her fleeing back,
panting on the hair across her shoulders.
She grows pale as her strength fails, exhausted                                    800
by the strain of running away so fast.
Gazing at the waters of Peneus,
she cries out:

 

                       “Father, help me! If you streams
have heavenly power, change me! Destroy
my beauty which has brought too much delight!”

 

Scarcely has she made this plea, when she feels
a heavy numbness move across her limbs,
her soft breasts are enclosed by slender bark,
her hair is changed to leaves, her arms to branches,                                             [550]
her feet, so swift a moment before, stick fast                                       810
in sluggish roots, a covering of foliage
spreads across her face. All that remains of her
is her shining beauty.

 

                                           Phoebus loved her                                    APOLLO AND THE LAUREL TREE
in this form, as well. He set his right hand
on her trunk, and felt her heart still trembling
under the new bark and with his own arms
hugged the branches, as if they were her limbs.
He kissed the wood, but it shrank from his kiss.
The god spoke:

 

                     “Since you cannot be my wife,
you shall surely be my tree. O laurel,                                              820
I shall forever have you in my hair,
on my lyre and quiver. You will be there
with Roman chieftains when joyful voices                                                       [560]
sing out their triumphs and long processions
march up within sight of the Capitol.
And you, as the most faithful guardian
of Augustus’ gates, will stand on his door,
and protect the oak leaves in the centre.
And just as my untrimmed hair keeps my head
always young, so you must always wear                                         830
eternal honours in your leaves.”

 

                                             Apollo finished.
The laurel branches, newly made, nodded
in agreement, and the top appeared to move,
as if it were a head.

                                          In Haemonia                                            INACHUS AND IO
there is a grove enclosed on every side
by steep and hilly woods. Men call it Tempe.
Through here Peneus pours his roiling stream                                                      [570]
from the foot of Pindus. His heavy fall
gathers up mists and drives them on, like fumes,
drenching the tops of trees with spray. Places                                      840
both near and far grow weary of its roar.
This is the house and home, the inner heart,
of the great river. Seated in a cave
carved out in the rocks, he sets down laws
for the flowing rivers and nymphs who live
within those streams. There the native waters
of that country first assemble, unsure
whether to congratulate or console
Daphne’s father—the restless Enipeus,
poplar-growing Spercheus, Aeas,                                                       850
old Apidanus, gentle Amphrysus,                                                                        [580]
and not long afterwards other rivers
taking exhausted waters to the sea,
weary from meandering here and there,
wherever their stream’s force has carried them.
Only Inachus is absent. Hidden
deep inside a cave, he is increasing
the volume of his water with his tears,
in total sorrow, grieving for Io,
his missing daughter. He has no idea                                                    860
if she is enjoying life or sitting
among the shades. Since he is unable
to locate her anywhere, he believes
she must be nowhere, and so in his heart
fears for the worst. Jupiter had glimpsed her                                        JUPITER AND IO
returning from her father, the river,
and had said:

 

                            “Virgin, worthy of Jupiter
and about to make some man or other
happy in your bed, while it is so hot,                                                              [590]
with the sun in the middle of his path,                                             870
at his highest point, move into the shade
of the deep woods.”

 

                                          Jupiter pointed to
some shadowy groves.

 

                        “If you are afraid
to go all by yourself into places
where wild beasts lurk, you can safely enter
the deepest parts of any grove at all
with a god to guard you—no common god,
but me who holds the heavenly sceptre
in my powerful fist and who flings down
wandering thunderbolts. Do not fly from me!”                                880

 

She was already fleeing and by now
had gone past Lerna’s pastures and the trees
planted in Lyrcaean fields. Then Jupiter,
spread darkness and concealed earth far and wide.
He caught her as she was running away
and forced her to have sex against her will.                                                         [600]

 

Meanwhile Juno looks down on middle Argos,                                   JUNO SUSPECTS ZEUS
curious why swift clouds in bright daylight
have brought on what appears like night. She knows
they have not come from rivers, nor been sent                                     890
from the moist earth, and looks around to see
where Jupiter might be, knowing already
her husband’s tricks, for he has been caught out
so often. Not finding him in heaven,
she says:

 

                         “Either I am quite mistaken,
or I am being wronged.”

 

                                          She glides down                                        IO IS TRANSFORMED
from the lofty aether, stands on the earth,
and commands the clouds to go away.
Jupiter has foreseen his wife’s arrival                                                                   [610]
and has changed the daughter of Inachus                                             900
so she resembles a sleek heifer. Even so,
transformed into a cow, she is lovely.
Juno, Saturn’s daughter, reluctantly
approves of the fine-looking cow and asks
who it belongs to, what herd it comes from,
as if she is quite ignorant of the truth.
Jupiter lies. In order to forestall
any questions about parents, he claims
the cow was born from earth. Juno then asks
to have it as a gift. What can he do?                                                    910
To hand over his own love is cruel,
not to hand her over is suspicious.
Shame insists he should surrender Io,
but then love insists he should refuse.
Love would have conquered shame, except for this—
if he refused the partner of his bed                                                                      [620]
and his own sister such a trifling gift,
the cow might seem to be no cow at all.
He gave the girl to Juno.

                                       The goddess                                               JUNO, ARGUS, AND IO
did not set aside all her fears at once.                                                  920
She was not sure she trusted of Jupiter,
and worried about his devious tricks,
until she handed Io on to Argus,
son of Arestor, to keep watch on her.
Around his head Argus had a hundred eyes,
and these would take a rest, two at a time,
while the others stayed awake and remained
on guard. No matter where he placed himself,
he could see Io. When he turned his back,
Io was still there, right before his eyes.                                                930
He lets her graze by day. Once the sun sets                                                        [630]
below the earth, he puts her in a pen
and ties a rope around her innocent neck.
She eats arbutus leaves and bitter herbs.                                             IO’S SUFFERING
In her sad state, she lies upon the ground,
often on bare earth where there is no grass,
instead of in her bed, and takes a drink
from muddy streams. Then, too, when she wishes
to hold those arms of hers in supplication
out to Argus, she has no arms to stretch,                                             940
and when she tries to utter a complaint,
her mouth just makes a lowing sound. The noise
makes her alarmed and scared of her own voice.
She goes to riverbanks where in the past
she often used to play by Inachus.
But when she sees her new horns in the stream,                                                  [640]
she draws back from herself, amazed and fearful.
The naiads have no idea who she might be,
and even Inachus himself is unaware.
But she walks behind her father and trails                                            950
her sisters, allowing them to touch her
and approaching them for their approval.
Old Inachus pulls herbs and holds them out.
She licks his hands, kisses her father’s palm,
and does not hold back her tears. If only
words would come out with them, she would declare
her name, describe her troubles, ask for help.
Instead of words, her hoof draws in the dust
letters which convey the wretched story                                                              [650]
of how her body changed. Old Inachus,                                              960
her father, hanging on the horns and neck
of the snow-white heifer, groans and cries out:

 

“I feel so sad”

 

                                   And then he groans again.

 

“I feel so wretched! Are you the daughter
I have been searching for in every land?
When you were missing, there was less sorrow
than there is now, after we have found you.
You cannot speak or answer what I say,
but only give out sighs from your deep chest.
The only way you can converse with me                                        970
is with lowing sounds. In my ignorance,
I was getting marriage and a bridal bed
prepared for you. My first hope was to have
a son-in-law and then some grandchildren.
But now you will have to have a husband
from the herd, and then offspring from the herd.                                             [660]
And this great grief of mine I cannot end
by dying. It is painful being a god.
Since the gate of death is closed, our sorrows
are dragged out into everlasting time.”                                            980

 

While Inachus is grieving for his daughter,
bright-eyed Argus takes Io from her father
and leads her away to different pastures.
He himself sits on a high mountain peak,
some distance off, where from his position
he can keep watch in all directions.

The ruler of the gods cannot endure                                                    MERCURY KILLS ARGUS
that the granddaughter of Phoroneus
suffer such misery a moment longer.
He calls his son whom the bright Pleiad bore                                       990
and orders him to put Argus to death.                                                                 [670]
Mercury does not delay for long. He ties
wings on his feet, his strong hand grips that rod
which brings on sleep, and he covers his head.
This done, the son of Jupiter leaps down
from his father’s citadel to the earth.
There he takes off his cap and wings. The rod
is the only thing he keeps. And with it,
looking like a shepherd, he drives she goats,
which he has stolen as he walks along,                                                 1000
through trackless countryside, playing a song
on reeds he tied together. Juno’s guard,
enchanted with the sound of this new art,
speaks out:

 

                              “Whoever you are, you can sit
with me here on this rock. There’s nowhere else
where there is better grazing for your flock.
As you see, this shade well suits a shepherd.”

 

The grandson of Atlas sat down and spent
the passing day in conversation, talking
of many things and playing melodies                                                    1010
on reeds he stuck together, attempting
to overpower Argus’ watchful eyes.

But Argus fights to keep soft sleep at bay,                                           THE STORY OF SYRINX
and though some of his eyes doze off, others
stay awake. He asks how the shepherd’s pipe,
something invented only recently,
has been developed. Mercury replies:

 

“On the icy mountains of Arcadia
among the hamadryads of Nonacris                                                               [690]
the most celebrated was a naiad—                                                 1020
nymphs called her Syrinx. She had eluded
many times the satyrs who pursued her,
as well as those gods who inhabited
the shady woods and fertile countryside.
She worshipped the Ortygian goddess
in her actions and remained a virgin.
She tied up her dress just like Diana
and could have been confused with Leto’s child,
except her bow was made of cornel wood,
while Diana’s was of gold. Even so,                                               1030
her appearance was deceptive. Once Pan,
with a wreath of pine around his head, spied her
on her way back from Mount Lycaeus
and spoke to her.”

 

                                  Now Mercury had to give                                                 [700]
more details—how the nymph then ran away,
despising his pleas, through pathless regions,
until she came to the gentle waters
of the sandy Ladon stream and how here,
with water hindering her way, she begged                                           SYRINX IS TRANSFORMED
her sisters of the stream to change her shape,                                      1040
how Pan, just when he thought he had Syrinx
in his arms at last, was holding marsh reeds
instead of the nymph’s body, and then how,
as he sighed there, wind passing through the reeds
had made a subtle, plaintive sound, and Pan,
captivated by the new art’s sweet voice,
had said:

 

          “This way of conversing with you                                                          [710]
will remain with me.”

 

                                        And by using wax
to join together reeds of different lengths,
he had immortalized the young girl’s name.                                          1050

The Cyllenean god, about to speak
of these events, sees all of Argus’ eyes
have closed, their bright lights overcome by sleep.
He lowers his voice at once and touches
the drowsy eyes with his magical rod,
forcing them to doze more soundly. And then,
with his hooked sword he quickly hacks away
the nodding head from where it joins the neck,
throws it, covered in gore, down from the rock,
and stains steep cliffs with blood.

 

                                            “Lie there, Argus.                               1060
The light you had in all those eyes of yours
has been extinguished, and a single night                                                        [720]
now sits inside your hundred orbs.”

 

                                                               Then Juno,                           JUNO’S ANGER
Saturn’s daughter, picked up those eyes, set them
in her own bird’s feathers, and filled its tail
with starry gems. Immediately enraged,
she made no attempt to hide her anger.
To the eyes and mind of that Argive girl
she sent out a terrifying Fury,
pierced her breast with hidden stings, and drove her                            1070
through the whole world in wandering terror.

And you, O Nile, remained the final stage                                            JUNO ENDS IO’S TORMENTS
of Io’s measureless pain. She reached you,
fell onto her knees at the river’s edge,                                                                 [730]
threw her neck back, lifted her face high up
towards the stars—that was the only thing
that she could do—and by her groans and tears
and sad lowing seemed to be complaining
to Jupiter and praying for an end
to her distress. Jupiter throws his arms                                                 1080
around Juno’s neck and asks her to end
her punishment. He says:

 

                                “Set your fears aside.
In future she will never cause you grief.”

 

And he commands the Stygian waters
to witness what he says. Once the goddess
has calmed down, Io regains those features
she possessed before and becomes the nymph
she was in earlier days. The stiff hair
leaves her body, the two horns shrink away,                                                       [740]
her eyes contract, the bones inside her jaw                                          1090
decrease in size, her arms and hands come back,
and her hooves vanish, changing to five nails.
So Io now looks nothing like the cow,
except for her still beautiful appearance.
Happy to have the use of her two feet,
the nymph stands up, but is afraid to speak,
in case her voice should utter lowing noises,
just like a heifer. Timidly she tries
once more to use the words she has stopped using.
Now she is a very famous goddess,                                                     1100
worshipped by large multitudes of people
dressed in linen. In time, Io bore a son,
Epaphus, who came, so it is believed,
from the seed of almighty Jupiter.
With Io he now guards our civic shrines.

Phaëton, child of the sun, was the same age                                        THE STORY OF PHAËTON
as Epaphus and equalled him in spirit.                                                                 [750]
At some point, Phaëton boasted aloud
that Phoebus was his father. He was proud
and would not back down, something Epaphus,                                  1110
grandson of Inachus, could not endure.
So he said:

 

                       “You are mad if you believe
everything your mother tells you and then
puff yourself up with the fancy image
of a fictitious father.”

 

                                                  Phaëton blushed—
shame checked his anger—and took the rebuke
of Epaphus to Clymene, his mother,
saying to her:

 

                       “To grieve you even more,
mother, I was silent. Though I am free
and bold, these insults make me feel ashamed.                               1120
I hear them said without being able
to speak against them. If I originate                                                                [760]
from a family of gods, show me some sign
of a lofty birth and confirm for me
I come from heaven.”

 

                              He spoke and then wrapped
his arms around his mother’s neck and begged,
by his own head and the head of Merops,
her husband, and by the wedding torches
of his sisters, that she would offer him
some proof of his true parent. Clymene                                               1130
was moved—but one could never say for certain
whether that came from Phaëton’s pleading
or from her resentment of the charges
made against her. She stretched out both her arms,
looked up to the sun’s light, and cried:

 

                                                 “My son,
I now swear to you by this radiant light,
marked by brilliant rays, which hears and sees us,
that you are the child of this very sun
which you are looking at. You are from him,
the controller of the world. If my words                                          1140           [770]
are false, let Sun himself remove from me
my power of seeing him. Let that light
be the last to reach my eyes. And for you
it is not difficult to learn about
your father’s home. The house where he rises
is in land beside our own. If your mind
has any inclination, then go there,
and put your questions to the god himself.”

 

After his mother says this, Phaëton,
overjoyed, at once runs off, seizing hold                                              1150
of heaven in his mind. He travels past
his own Ethiopians and India,
located under fiery stars, eagerly
hurrying to where his father rises.

 

 

ENDNOTES

 

(1) In Greek mythology, the Titans were the immediate divine descendants of the first two gods Gaia and Ouranos. Phoebe (from the Greek for shining) was one of the original Titans and became synonymous with the moon. The Titan who provided light from the sun was Hyperion or Hyperion’s son. Amphitrite, wife of Neptune, god of the sea, here stands for the sea generally. [Back to Text]

(2) The heavens had been divided up by astronomers with five parallel circles: the equinox (in the centre), the two tropics (Cancer and Capricorn), and two polar circles. These verses indicate that the god marked out the climates on the earth’s surface in a similar numerical pattern: the hot zone is between the tropics, the temperate zones are between the tropics and the polar circles, and the frigid zones are beyond the polar circles. The Latin uses the terms right and left; following many others, I have substituted north and south. [Back to Text]

(3) The winds were the sons of Astreus and Aurora and thus brothers. The idea here is that the creator of the world controlled the ferocity of the winds by having them blow in different directions (or from different places) rather than all together in the same direction. Eurus is the east wind (i.e., blowing from the east). It comes from Aurora (meaning morning—i.e., the rising sun). Nabath is a name associated with regions in the Middle East, especially Arabia. [Back to Text]

(4) Scythia refers generally to northern territories. Zephyrus is the west wind, Boreas the north wind, and Auster the south wind. [Back to Text]

(5) Iapetus and his son Prometheus were Titans, members of the family of ruling gods before Jupiter overthrew his father, Saturn, and imprisoned him. Jupiter and the major gods around him are called Olympians, because they are associated with Mount Olympus in northern Greece. [Back to Text]

(6) The Romans inscribed their laws on brass and placed the tablets in a public place for people to see. [Back to Text]

(7) The first family of gods, led by Saturn (in Greek Cronos), was overthrown by Jupiter (in Greek Zeus) and most of them were confined deep underground. Tartarus is the lowest point of the underworld. [Back to Text]

(8) The Stygian shades are associated with the river Styx, one of the main rivers of the underworld. Thus, iron and gold are deep in the earth, close to Hades. [Back to Text]

(9) Olympus, Ossa, and Pelion are all mountains in northern Greece. The Giants, children of Earth, piled them on top of each other in order to attack heaven. [Back to Text]

(10) The expression might be considered “bold” because it involves an implicit comparison of Jupiter and Augustus Caesar. [Back to Text]

(11) Nereus is an ancient sea god. Here the name stands for the sea generally. The gods commonly swear their most solemn oaths on the river Styx, a major part of the underworld. Such oaths cannot be broken. [Back to Text]

(12) It is not entirely clear whether this is a reference to the assassination of Julius Caesar or to some failed plot again Augustus. [Back to Text]

(13) In Greek mythology the Furies were goddess of blood revenge, particularly within the family. If they are everywhere on earth, then people must be very wicked. [Back to Text]

(14) The Cyclopes (singular Cyclops) were huge, one-eyed monsters. They worked for Vulcan, god of the forge, making lightning bolts for Jupiter. [Back to Text]

(15) Aeolus was the god in charge of all the winds. [Back to Text]

(16) Nereids, daughters of Nereus and Doris, were nymphs of the sea. [Back to Text]

(17) Triton, a minor sea deity, was the son of Neptune and Amphitrite. His famous horn was made from a conch shell. [Back to Text]

(18) The Archer God is Apollo, son of Jupiter. [Back to Text]

(19) Phoebe is a name often given to Diana, the hunter goddess. She should not be confused with Phoebe the moon goddess, who was a Titan, not an Olympian deity. [Back to Text]

(20) Hymen is one of the gods of marriage. [Back to Text]

 

 

[Link to Metamorphoses, Book 2]

 

[Link to Metamorphoses, Table of Contents]