Metamorphoses - Publius Ovidius Naso (43 AD - 17 AD)

Literature of antiquity and the Middle Ages - Summary - 2019

Publius Ovidius Naso (43 AD - 17 AD)

The word "metamorphosis" means "transformation". There were a lot of ancient myths that ended in the transformations of the heroes - into the river, in the mountains, in the animal, in the plant, in the constellation. Poet Ovidius tried to collect all such myths about the transformations he knew; they turned out to be more than two hundred. He recited them one by one, picking up, interlacing, inserting each other; turned out to be a long poem titled "Metamorphoses". It begins with the creation of the world - when Chaos divided into Heaven and Earth, it was already the first transformation in the world. And it ends literally yesterday: a year before Ovid was born in Rome, Julius Caesar was killed, a large comet appeared in the sky, and everyone said that Caesar’s soul had ascended to heaven, which became a god the transformation.
So the poem moves from the most ancient to the newest times. The older it is - the more majestic, the more cosmic described transformations: the world's flood, the global fire. The flood was the punishment of the first people for their sins - the land became a sea, the surf struck in the mocks of mountains, the fish swam between the branches of the tree, people on the narrow rafts died of starvation. Only two of the righteous were saved by Parnassus, the father-in-law of Deucalion and his wife, Pyrrhus. Water flooded, desert and silent world opened; With tears they prayed to the gods and heard the answer: "Mark your bones behind your back!" They understood with difficulty: the common mother is the Earth, its bones are stones; they began to throw a stone over their shoulders, and behind the back of Deucalion, men stood out of these stones, and behind the Pyrrha were women. So a new human race appeared on the earth.
But the fire was not by the will of the gods, but by the audacity of an unreasonable teenager. The young Phaeton, the son of the Sun, asked his father: "I do not believe that I am your son: let me skip through the sky in your gold chariot from the east to the sink" Be your own, "answered the father," but beware: not right up or down, hold on to the middle, otherwise be trouble! "And trouble came: a young man's head aloud at his height, his hand trembled, his horses faltered, and Rak and Scorpio raced from them in the sky, the mountain forests from the Caucasus Atlas, boiling rivers from the Rhine to the Ganges, the sea crashed, the soil broke, the light broke into the black kingdom of Aida - and then The old Earth, having raised his head, begged Zeus: "You want to burn - burn, but have mercy on the world, and there will be no new Chaos!" Zeus struck with lightning, the chariot collapsed, and a verse was written over the remains of Phaeton: "The Phaeton is slain here: daring to the great, he fell."
Starts the age of heroes, the gods go to the mortal, mortals flow into pride. Weavers of Arachna cause the goddess Athena, the inventor of the fabric, At Athens on the fabric - the Olympic gods, Poseidon makes for the people of the horse, Athena himself - an olive, and on the edges - the punishment of those who dared to equal the gods: those turned to the mountains, those in birds, those in the steps of the temple. And Arachna on the fabric - as Zeus turned a bull, to steal one beauty, a golden rain for another, a swan to the third, a serpent for the fourth; as Poseidon turned into a ram, a horse and a dolphin; as Apollo took the form of a shepherd, and Dionysus - the husbandman, and more, and more. Arachn's fabric is not worse than the cloth of Athens, and Athena does not execute it for work, but for blasphemy: turns it into a spider, which hangs in the corner and forever blows the web. "Spider" in Greek - "Arachna".
Son of Zeus, Dionysus the wine-grower, the miracle worker is going out in the world and giving people wine. He punishes his enemies: the shipmen who transported him across the sea decided to kidnap such a handsome man and sell him into slavery - but his ship stops, the roots go to the bottom, the ivy wraps the mast, the bundles hang from the sails, and the robbers bend in the body, cover themselves with scales and dolphins jump in the sea He gives his friends whatever they want, but they do not always ask for a reasonable one. The greedy king, Midas, asked, "Let all that I touch, become gold!" - And here the golden bread and meat break his teeth, and golden water pours into his throat with molten metal. Extending miraculous hands, he prays: "Oh, save me from a damnable gift!" - and Dionysus says with a smile: "Wash his hands in the river of Pactol." The force goes into the water, the king again eats and drinks, and the river Paktool has since rolled golden sand.
Not only young Dionysus, but also older gods appear among people. Zeus himself and Hermes walk around human villages in the face of the wanderers, but rough hosts drive them from the thresholds. Only one poor hut was taken by their old man and the old woman, Filomon and Baucida. Guests enter, crouched their heads, sit on the mat, in front of them a table with a lame leg supported by a crown; instead of a tablecloth, its board is rubbed with mint, in clay bowls - eggs, cottage cheese, vegetables, dried berries. Here is a wine mixed with water - and suddenly the owners see: the miracle - how much you drink, it does not diminish in the bowls. Here they are guessing who is in front of them, and in fear they pray: "Forgive us, gods, for the poor reception." In response, their cabin is transformed, the clay floor becomes marble, the roof rises on the columns, the walls shine with gold, and the mighty Zeus says: "Ask what you want!" "We want to stay in this temple with our priest and priestess, and how they lived together and die together. " It became so; and when the time came, Filemont and Bavikid turned to each other in the eyes of one another into an oak and a lime, just having time to say to each other "Farewell!".
Meanwhile, the age of heroes is in its turn. Perseus kills Gorgon, turning a gaze into a stone, and when putting her cut off head on the leaves, the leaves turn to coral. Jason brings Medea from Colchis, and that turns him a shabby father from an old man into a young man. Hercules is struggling for his wife with the river god Aheloy, who turns that serpent, then by the bull - and yet defeated. Theseus enters the Cretan Labyrinth and kills there a monstrous Minotaur; Princess Ariadne gave him a thread; he held her behind him along the confused corridors from the entrance to the middle, and then found a way back to her. He took Ariadne from Theseus and made his wife Dionysus god, and he lifted the crown from her head to heaven, and there he was illuminated by the constellation of the Northern Crown.
The builder of the Cretan Labyrinth was the Athenian Dedal, a captive of the menacing king of Minos, the son of Zeus and the father of the Minotaur. Daedalus was drowning on his island, but he could not escape: all the seas were under the control of Minos. Then he decided to fly over the sky: "Everyone owns Minos, but he does not own the air!" Having assembled the bird's feathers, he binds them with wax, he measures the length, heals the bend of the wing; and his boy, Ikar, besides licking the waxes, then catches flying feathers. Here are ready great wings for his father, small for his son, and Daedalus teaches Icarus: "Fly after me, hold the middle: you will take it down; feathers will soak from the spray of the sea; Take it above - the wax will soften the heat of the sun. " They fly; The fishermen on the shores and the pachari on the awnings throw glances into the sky and die, thinking that these are the highest gods. But Phaeton's participation is repeated again: Icarus joyfully picks up, thaws wax, feathers break down, with his bare hands he lacks the air, and now the sea overwhelms his lips calling to his father. Since then, this sea is called Ikariy.
As in Demetal was a craftsman in Crete, so in Pythagoras was a craftsman in Cyprus. Both of them were sculptors: about Daedalus said that his statues were able to walk, about Pigmalion - as if his statue had come to life and became his wife. It was a stone girl named Galatea, so beautiful that Pigmalion fell in love with her: caressed a stone body, dressed, adorned, dusted and finally peered to the gods: "Give me a wife like my statue!" And Lhrodith's goddess of love responded: he touches the statue and feels softness and warmth; he kisses her; Galatiya opens her eyes and sees the white light and her face in love together. Pigmalion was happy, but his descendants were unlucky. He had a son Kinir born, and Cinir was the daughter of Mirra, and this mira was in love with herself in love with her father. The gods in horror turned it into a tree, from the crust of which, like tears, oozes the scent resin, still called myrrh. And when it was time to give birth, the tree cracked, and from the crack appeared a baby named Adonis. He grew up so beautiful that Aphrodite himself took him to his lovers. But not to the good: the jealous god of war Ares sent to him on the hunt of a wild boar, Adonis was killed, and from the blood he grew a short-lived flower anemone.
And with Pigmalion there was either a great-grandson, or great-grandchild, by the name of either Kenid, or Kenya. She was born a girlfriend, she fell in love with the sea Poseidon, seized her and said: "Ask me what's right. She replied:" No one could deceive me anymore, like you, "I want to be a man!" Began these words in a female voice, ended with a male . And in addition, rejoicing in the desire of the Kenyans, God gave her to the male body invulnerability from the wounds. At that time, the king of the Lapipa tribe, the friend of Theseus, made a crowded wedding. Guests at the wedding were centaurs, semi-peasants and semi-horses from the neighboring mountains, wild and violent. Unusual for guilt, they drunk and attacked women, lapiphas began to protect their wives, the famous battle of lapiphs with centaurs, which the Greek sculptors liked to portray, began. First in the wedding palace, then under the open sky, First, the metals are cast into each other's bowls and altar heads, then buried with pines and clumps of rocks. Here also showed himself Kenya - nothing took him, the stones bounced off from him like a hail from the roof, spears and swords broke like granite. Then the centaurs began to throw it in trunks of trees: "Let the wounds be replaced by a load!" - a whole mountain of trunks grew over his body, and first fluctuated, as in an earthquake, and then he died. And when the battle was over and the trunks were disassembled, the dead girl of Kenid was lying under them, "- a whole mountain of trunks grew over his body and first fluctuated, as in an earthquake, and then he died. And when the battle was over and the trunks were disassembled, the dead girl of Kenid was lying under them, "- a whole mountain of trunks grew over his body and first fluctuated, as in an earthquake, and then he died. And when the battle was over and the trunks were dismantled, under them lay the dead girl Kenida.
The poem is coming to an end: the old Nestor in the Greek camp under Troy is already talking about the battle of lilies with centaurs. Even the Trojan War can not do without transformations. Pal Achilles, and his body was taken out of the battle by two: the powerful Ajax carried him on his shoulders, the clever Odysseus reflected the native Trojans. From Achilles remained the famous armor, forged by Hephaestus: to whom he will get? Ajax says: "I first went to war; I am the strongest after Achilles; I'm the best in an open battle, and Odysseus - only in secret tricks; the armor is for me! "Odysseus says:" But I only gathered the Greeks into war; only I drew the very Achilles; but I kept the army from returning to the tenth year; mind is more important than power; the armor is me!" The Greeks confer the armor on Odyssey, the offended Ajax rushes at the sword, and a hyacinth flower grows out of his blood, on which specks form in the letters “AI” - a mournful cry and the beginning of the Ajax name.
Troy fell, Aeneas floats with the Trojan shrines to the west, at each of his stops he hears stories about transformations memorable in these distant lands. He leads the war for Lacy, his descendants rule in the Alba, and it turns out that neighboring Italy is no less rich in tales of transformations than Greece. Romulus bases Rome and ascends to heaven - he turns into God; Seven hundred years later Julius Caesar will save Rome in civil wars and will also rise up with a comet-he will turn into God. Meanwhile, the successor of Romulus, Numa Pompilius, the most wise of the ancient Roman kings, listens to the speeches of Pythagoras, the most wise of the Greek philosophers, and Pythagoras explains to him and to readers, what are the transformations that were intertwined with stories in such a long poem.
Nothing is forever, says Pythagoras, except for one soul. She lives, immutable, changing her body shells, rejoicing in new ones, forgetting about the former. The soul of Pythagoras once lived in the Trojan hero Evforbe; he, Pythagoras, remembers it, and people do not usually remember. From human bodies, the soul can pass into the bodies of animals, birds, and again human beings; therefore the wise will not eat meat. "It's like a fake wax that forms new in new ones, / Does not stay alone, do not have the same look, / But it remains itself - so surely the soul, while remaining / The same, - I say so! - passes into different flesh".
And every flesh, every body, every substance variably. Everything is flowing: the moments, hours, days, times of the year, the ages of a person are replaced. The earth is thinned into water, water into the air, air into the fire, and once again the fire is densified into thunderclouds, the clouds are poured in the rain, the earth is teeming from the rain. The mountains were by the sea, and sea shells are found in them, and the sea once flooded the dry plains; the rivers flow out and new breaks, the islands break off from the mainland and merge with the mainland. Troy was mighty, and now in the dust, Rome is now small and weak, and will be omnipotent: "In the world nothing is worth it, but everything is renewed forever."
These are the eternal changes of all that we see in the world, and remind us of ancient tales of transformations - metamorphoses.