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Ovid

Metamorphoses

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

[This document has some copyright restrictions. For details please consult the following link: Copyright]

For a free copy of the full translation in Word format, please contact Ian Johnston.

 


 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

For more specific details of the contents of a particular book, consult the summary provided at the opening of that book.

BOOK 1
Invocation; Creation; Four Ages, War of the Giants; the Flood; Deucalion and Pyrrha; Apollo and Pytho; Apollo and Daphne; Io, Argus, and Mercury; Pan and Syrinx; Phaëton.

BOOK 2
Phaëton; Callisto and Jupiter; Callisto and Arcas; Coronis and Apollo; Ocyroë; Battus and Mercury; Aglauros, Mercury, and Juno; Europa and Jupiter.

BOOK 3
Cadmus and the Dragon; Actaeon and Diana; Semele, Jupiter, and Juno; Juno, Jupiter, and Teiresias; Echo and Narcissus, Pentheus and Bacchus.

BOOK 4
The Daughters of Minyas; Pyramus and Thisbe; Mars and Venus; the Sun, Leucothea and Clytie; Salmacis and Hermaphroditus; Athamas and Ino; Cadmus and Harmonia, Perseus and Atlas; Perseus and Andromeda.

BOOK 5
Perseus and Phineus; the Muses and Minerva; the Daughters of Pierus and the Muses; Typhoeus and the Gods; the Rape of Proserpine; Ceres and Cyrene; Arethusa and Alpheus; Triptolemus and Lyncus.

BOOK 6
Arachne and Minerva; Niobe; Leto and the Lycians; Marsyas; Tereus and Philomela; Orithyia and Boreas.

BOOK 7
Jason and Medea, Medea and Aeson, Medea and Pelias, Medea and Aegeus, Aeacus and the Myrmidons, Cephalus and Procris.

BOOK 8
Minos and Scylla, Daedalus and Icarus, Calydonian Boar Hunt, Althaea and Meleager, Permela and Achelous, Baucis and Philemon, Erysichthon and Maestra.

BOOK 9
Hercules and Achelous, Nessus and Hercules, Galanthis, Dryope, Iolaus, Byblis and Caunus, Iphis and Iänthe.

BOOK 10
Orpheus and Eurydice, Attis and Cybele, Cyparissus, Hyacinthus and Apollo, The Propoetides, Pygmalion, Myrrha and Cinyras, Atalanta and Hippomenes, Adonis.

BOOK 11
Death
 of Orpheus, Midas and Bacchus, Midas, Pan and Apollo, Peleus and Thetis, Chione and Daedalion, Peleus and Psamathe, Ceyx and Halcyone, Aesacus and Hesperië.

BOOK 12
Agamemnon at Aulis, Cycnus and Achilles, Caeneus, the Centaurs and Lapiths, Periclymenus and Hercules, Death of Achilles.

BOOK 13
Ajax and Ulysses, Hecuba and Polymnestor, Memnon, Aeneas and Acis, Galatea and Polyphemus, Glaucus.

BOOK 14
Scylla and Circe, The Cercopes, The Cumaean Sibyl, Ulysses, Polyphemus and Circe, Picus and Circe, Diomedes in Italy, Aeneas in Latium; Vertumnus and Pomona; Iphis and Anaxarete; Romulus.

BOOK 15
Mysceleus, Croton, Pythagoras. Egeria, Hippolytus, Tages, Cipus, Aesculapius, Julius Caesar, Augustus.]

 

Glossary and Index

List of Transformations

 

TRANSLATOR’S NOTE

In this translation, the numbers in square brackets refer to Ovid’s Latin text, the numbers without brackets refer to the English text. In the latter, partial lines are counted together in the reckoning, so that two or three consecutive short lines are equivalent to one full line.

The explanatory endnotes, the headings at the right-hand margins, and the summaries at the start of each book have been added by the translator.

A word on pronunciation of names: the letters eus and aus at the end of a name are normally two syllables in this translation: (e.g., Orpheus is pronounced Ór-phe-us, Pentheus is pronounced Pén-the-us, Menelaus is pronounced Me-ne-lá-us, and so on); a dieresis over a vowel indicates that it is pronounced by itself (e.g., Danaë is pronounced Dá-na-e, not Dá-nai, Nereïds is pronounced -re-ids, Caÿster is pronounced Ca-y-ster, and so on); final vowels are pronounced by themselves (as in Calliope, Penelope, Achaea, and so on), although there are a few exceptions, usually when the name has long been adopted into English (e.g., Crete, Palatine, Rome, Ganymede, Nile).

Ovid’s text sometimes creates minor confusion with names either because he does not use a specific name (or uses it very sparingly) or because he identifies someone with a phrase which is not always immediately clear to the modern reader (e.g., “girl from Arcady,” “descendant of Abas,” “Cyllenean god,” and so on). I have in many cases inserted the more familiar name (e.g., Perseus, Mercury, Callisto), sometimes in addition to the original phrase, sometimes in place of it.

Another source of minor confusion is Ovid’s habit of changing verb tenses frequently from present to past and back again, often in mid-sentence. While this stylistic habit is not uncommon in conversational English, it is rare in formal English. Different translators handle this feature in different ways. Some put all verbs into the past tense, while others follow Ovid’s changes faithfully. Most recent translations (so far as I can tell) retain the movement back and forth between present and past tenses, but do so less frequently than Ovid does, so that there is more consistency within short passages of the English. This last-mentioned practice is the one I have followed in this translation.

Finally, Ovid’s speeches are sometimes difficult to keep track of, because he will have a speaker telling us what someone else said, and that account may include more direct speech also containing direct speech. At one point he has speeches within a speech within a speech within a speech. To avoid complex, awkward, and confusing punctuation, I have tried to stick to a simple use of quotation marks (double quotation marks for direct speech, and single quotation marks for all speeches within speeches) and have indented the left margin appropriately to indicate how direct or indirect a particular speech is.

I would like to acknowledge the great help I have received from other translations and commentaries, above all those by Mary M. Innes, A. S. Kline, Henry T. Riley, and A. D. Melville.

 

[Link to Book 1]

  

 


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