Composed in Latin in the early years of the first century by the Roman poet Ovid, the Metamorphoses presents a collection of amazing tales of transformation based on Greek mythology and Roman legend. Ovid was the most gifted storyteller of his age, and the Metamorphoses is his masterpiece. It begins with the creation of the world and continues on to the founding of Rome and to the reign of the emperor Augustus in Ovid's own time.
Many of the great stories from Greek mythology can be found in the Metamorphoses, including those of Apollo and Daphne, Jupiter and Io, Actaeon, Narcissus and Echo, Pyramus and Thisbe, Daedalus and Icarus, Orpheus and Eurydice, Pygmalion, and Venus and Adonis. The genial narrator sails unperturbed through tale after tale of love and loss, quests and battles, violence and suffering, human striving and folly. Ovid's wit and verbal adroitness hasten the pace of the narrative and make the work supremely accessible.
Michael Simpson's prose translation in the rapid and direct American idiom catches the swiftness and clarity of the Latin original. His introduction sketches the poet's life, describes his extant works, discusses his unusual exile to the west coast of the Black Sea (where he died), and provides a useful context for reading the Metamorphoses. Simpson has also prepared extensive endnotes that serve as mini-essays, illuminating the manifold aspects of the poem and offering commentary and interpretation that enable readers to enter Ovid's magical world and enjoy its richness.