Metamorphoses is a collection of ancient Greek and Roman myths and tales retold in poetic form by the great Roman poet Ovid in the early ﬁrst century C.E.
Each story within the Metamorphoses features a transformation, or metamorphosis, of a character or a theme. Some of the transformations occur in order to save a protagonist from death or another tragic fate, such as the nymph Daphne’s transformation into a laurel tree before Apollo seizes her. Other metamorphoses are punishments for wrongdoing.
The Metamorphoses is a valuable source ofearly myths. Ovid’s telling of the story ofDaedalus, his son Icarus, and their escape from Crete, for example, is the earliest written version of the tale.
Ovid made use of both Greek and Roman sources, adding his own personal touches. The myths and tales take place from the dawn of time to the age of the Emperor Augustus. While the overall theme of the work is the power of the gods, Ovid also pays homage to the glory of Rome.