One of ancient Rome's most celebrated poets, Ovid (43 B.C.–A.D. 18) wrote during the reign of Augustus. His works reflect a sentiment of art for pleasure's sake, without the ethical or moral overtones, which perhaps accounts for his enduring popularity. For more than two thousand years, readers have delighted in Ovid's playful eloquence; his influence on other writers has ranged from Dante and Chaucer to Shakespeare and Milton, and scenes from his stories have inspired many great works by Western artists.
This selection of thirty stories from the verse translation by F. A. Wright of Ovid's famous work, The Metamorphoses, does full justice to the poet's elegance and wit. All of the tales involve a form of metamorphosis, or transformation, and are peopled by mythological gods, demigods, and mortals: Venus and Adonis, Pygmalion, Apollo and Daphne, Narcissus, Perseus, and Andromeda, Orpheus and Eurydice, the Cyclops, and Circe, among others.
Although most of the stories did not originate with Ovid, it is quite possible that had he not written them down, these oral traditions would have been lost forever — and with them, a vast and valuable amount of Greco-Roman culture. This collection of the poet's best and most beloved narrative verses reflects the vitality of classical mythology.
A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.