The Metamorphoses by Publius Ovidius Naso (43 B.C. - A.D. 17) has, over the centuries, been the most popular and influential work from our classical tradition. This extraordinary collection of some 250 Greek and Roman myths and folk tales has always been a popular favorite, and has decisively shaped western art and literature from the moment it was completed in A.D. 8.
The stories are particularly vivid when read by David Horovitch, in this new lively verse translation by Ian Johnston.
Public Domain (P)2012 Naxos AudioBooks
I put off reading Ovid for far too long; this outstanding audio version from Naxos finally pulled me in. Metamorphoses is a wide-ranging account of Greek mythology, focusing on changes. Sometimes the changes are simple changes in fortune, "from good fortune to bad," as Aristotle put it, but often they are changes in physical form: a rape victim is transformed into a bird, a self-obsessed youth is transformed into a flower. Jason and Medea are here; so are Achilles, Ulysses, Aeneas, and many of the Roman gods. The versions of myths given here underlie many of the references in Shakespeare and Dante. Listening to this audiobook is like finally getting past the footnotes to a rich primary source.
It doesn't hurt that David Horovitz's voice is wonderful - almost a physical pleasure to listen to. The translation is by Ian Johnston, who has provided, both online and through Naxos, wonderful versions of Homer.
Ovid's poem is famous for the subtle transitions from one story to the next. They are, at times, almost imperceptible; you start out listening to a story about Orpheus and Eurydice and suddenly realize Orpheus is now telling a story about Venus and Adonis. (And maybe within that story, Venus in turn tells a story about Atalanta.) It sounds more confusing than it is, but you do have to pay careful attention. I recommend keeping a table of contents handy. The PDF that comes with the audiobook provides a useful track listing, and there are other outlines of the structure available on the Internet.
Important, because this is one of the only remaining primary sources of Greco-Roman mythology
Consistent, because it has a constant theme of change through out the work
Propaganda, because the last book is so obviously that. The Roman Empire was changing from a republic to a Pricipate and Augusts used propaganda to cement his newly created position.
Ariadne making Athena look at the crimes the male gods of mount Olympus had committed against innocent mortal women
No, but he did a wonderful job
This will be a confusing listen for anyone who is not familiar with the many names of the characters (i.e. Apollo, Phoebus), their backgrounds (i.e. The Delian God = born on the island of Delos = Apollo) and their family tree (i.e. Son of Latona, brother of Diana)
I suggest it to people who are willing to use some sort of reference or those who are already familiar with these stories
This is a very easy to understand translation otherwise and I would highly recommend to those who love mythology
Reading the Arthur Golding edition of Metamorphoses cannot be replaced with this audiobook; however, if you (like me) were looking for a copy to listen to in order to gain familiarity and recall with Greek/Roman mythology then I highly recommend this book.
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