Classical Civilisation- Ovid

Ovid Metamorphoses, stories summary for books 1, 3 and 8


Deucalion and Pyrrha

  • They are very pious
  • They are chosen by jupiter to be the sole survivors of the flood
  • had to repopulate the earth
  • showed Augustan qualities- (tradition, family, piety, god fearing) was why they were chosen
  • repopulated earth by throwing their mothers bones behind them which turned into humans
  • Themes= tender affection and piety
  • their relationship= united, have double bond, cousins and married
  • 'you'd never find a more right-minded man than deucalion, neither a god-fearing woman than pyrrha, both of them guiltless in sin and both devote to their worship'
1 of 14


  • innocent girl who suffers from unwanted attention from a apollo
  • victim of cupids arrow- apollo hit with arrow to make fall in love, daphne made to repel love
  • apollo falls in love with her and chases her
  • daphne prays to her father for escape so she is turned into a laurel tree
  • themes= escape, lust
  • 'I beg you. Don't run so fast and I promise to slow down too'
2 of 14


  • runs away from jupiter but he 'steadily ***** her'
  • Juno was suspicious so to protect her jupiter turned her into a cow
  • Argus guards her and tortures her
  • she is scared of her new form
  • her father Inachus didn't know who she was
  • she is innocent and timid- its stressed
  • themes= Jealousy, protection, escape
  • 'when she saw her reflected head with its strange new horns. she recoiled from herself in panic'
3 of 14


  • victim of Junos jealousy
  • juno comes down to earth in the form of an old crone to spy on jupiter and semele
  • she persuades semele to 'make him give you a pledge of his love'
  • so semele says to jupiter 'come to my bed as you come to your wife, when juno embraces your body divine in the pact of Venus!'
  • semele was a mortal so couldn't take all of jupiters power so she set on fire
  • themes= jealously, love, lust, compassion
4 of 14


  • story shows humour, punishment and reward
  • he went from a man back to a woman, juno then jupiter
  • 'experienced love from both angles'
  • he got given a punishment from juno- blindness
  • reward from jupiter- ability to predict future
5 of 14

Narcissus and Echo

  • Narcissus turns into a flower
  • Echo turns into a pile of bones and an echo
  • Narcissus falls in love with himself and rejects love from everyone else, he was looking at himself in the water and he fell in and drowned
  • Echo stopped Juno from getting to jupiter by talking so she was punished with only being able to repeat ends of people sentences, but the power of love overcomes it slightly 'enjoy my body'
  • themes= unrequited love, obsession, woods, fate, gender, power of love
6 of 14

Pentheus and Bacchus

  • Pentheus is turned into a wild boar
  • Changed by bacchus
  • he sees rituals and is punished
  • he is killed by his mother and aunts, they are in a frenzy and think he is a wild boar
  • themes= fear, frustration, jealousy, pride,arrogance
7 of 14

Scylla and Minos

  • syclla starts as a young girl but becomes an obsessed woman
  • she becomes a small bird and her father a falcon
  • she falls in love with minos who was the enemy and betrays her father by cutting off his lock of hair which was the key to the city but he rejected her 'recoiled'
  • he is disguited at her attitude and lack of moral values
  • he sails away and she tries to cling to the boat but her father changes her into a bird
  • themes= unrequited love, women
8 of 14

Daedalus and Icarus, Daedalus and Perdix

  • pretend metamorphoses into a bird to escape his exile from crete
  • Icurus fell in love with the sky which melted the wings so he drowned in the sea
  • 'if you fly too low, the water will cling to your wings; if you fly too high, they'll be scorched by fire'
  • themes= tender affection

Daedalus and perdix

  • Daedalus was jealous and threw perdix down the hill of minerva and pallas changed him into a bird as he has great artist talent and invented things
  • theme= jealousy
9 of 14


  • diana was upset and offended about not being worshipped or thankes
  • meleagar joined the army of heroes who were going to kill the calydonian boar
  • atlanta was amongst the companions= woman, good hunter 'boyish face'
  • role of gods= getting involved
  • atalanta was portrayed as a good hunter who was better than men
  • meleagar killed his uncles
  • Althaea (meleagars mother) was a scorned woman in a dilema
  • son killed brothers and doesn't know whether to mourn, punish or stand up for him
  • kills her son and herself
  • 'the evil fruit of my own womb'
  • themes= lust, love, grief, dilemma
10 of 14


  • a stag (hunter became hunted)
  • He sees diana bathing naked and diana turns him into a stag and his friends and hounds then hunt him
  • themes= seeing something you shouldn't, fear, frustration
11 of 14

Philmon and Baucis

  • Oak tree and Linden tree
  • changed by jupiter as a reward
  • showed piety to gods so were granted a wish and they asked to die together so they were turned into trees
  • they were humble, let people into their home despite the fact they had nothing much to offer and lived in poverty
  • themes= tender affection, piety, humble, equality
12 of 14


  • was turned into hunger by ceres
  • 'let pestilent hunger torture his body'
  • he cut down the scared oak tree so was punished by ceres who gets hunger to attack him so he is always hungry
  • themes= pride, arrogance, impiety
  • he eats away all the money and his daughter is able to change form into a bird, mare, cow or deer so she helps her father by getting money
13 of 14


  • dragons teeth turn into men- told to do this by pallas
  • he was searching for his kidnapped sister Europa
  • written in traditional epic style- reminds of jason and the Argonauts
  • 'why do you gaze on a slaughtered snake'
  • he showed typical augustan qualities- courage, a hero, brave
  • themes= violence, courage, gods, golden age
14 of 14


Veronica Hayes


This is great! thank you so much!!  :)

Harisha Sivakumaran


Thank you so much! I feel so confident about my exams now!! :D



so useful! been panicking about my classics exam but this has really helped!



-so useful! saved me loads of time by being ready to print and use for quick revision. love this! thanks so much!

Similar Classical Civilization resources:

See all Classical Civilization resources »