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Apollo, paenitentia, and Ovid's Metamorphoses

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image of Mnemosyne

Through a comparison of several examples of divine repentance in Ovid's Metamorphoses to their closest human analogue (Apollo/Phaethon and Apollo/Coronis, each in book 2, Apollo/Hyacinthus and Cyparissus, each in book 10) this study attempts both to illustrate the characterization of Apollo in the poem and to raise questions about why Apollo is the god so portrayed. I will suggest that Apollo's paenitentia highlights a key difference between gods and mortals, and also that Ovid may be using the figure of Apollo to remark upon that of Augustus.


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