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How Ovid Remythologizes Greek Astronomy in Metamorphoses 1.747-2.400

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image of Mnemosyne

This essay discusses Ovid's poetic rendition of Hellenistic astronomy in the Phaethon myth. In Met. 2.63-75 Sol presents his diurnal and annual movements as separate, but the first instruction (127-8) to his son in his second speech refers to the υπολειψις-theory; so far Ovid has followed Geminus Isag. 12. Met. 2.129-33 telescopes the Milky Way (via quinque per arcus) and the ecliptic together, the sectus in obliquum limes zonarumque trium contentus fine reflecting the Aratean system of three imaginary circles connected by means of the fourth (Phaen. 526 ο δε τετρατος) circle, the ecliptic; Nonnus D. 38.256-9 points in the same direction. In the last instruction utrumque (Met. 2.140) refers to the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. In 2.116 I adopt quam, the reading of Par F (Tarrant, OCT 2004), instead of quem, thus making Aurora the subject of petere terras, which makes excellent sense since she carries the passage Met. 2.112-44. In late Antiquity both Nonnus (D. 38.424-5) and Claudian (VI. Cons. Hon. 172) catasterise Phaethon into Auriga; this paper offers some fresh viewpoints, based on e.g. Ov. Am. 3.12.31, 37 and Hyginus Astr. 2.42.1324-7, that could defend the presence of Phaethon's catasterismus in the Metamorphoses.

Affiliations: 1: Bloemgracht 150, 1015 TS Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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/content/journals/10.1163/156852507x195439
2008-04-01
2016-12-04

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