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Ceres’ Flight over the Greco-Roman World

image of Mnemosyne

Ovid’s version of Ceres’ travels in search for her daughter Proserpina in Fasti 4 reflects contemporary geographical views. We note an expansion of horizons that has already happened in Callimachus Hymn 6 compared to the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, but is now reaching even further as well as offering more precise information. At the same time Ovid is inspired by Callimachus’ pattern of figurative concentric circles (Achelous/Ocean, ever-flowing rivers, well of Callichorus) to create a narrative characterised by figurative and literal circles (one e.g. being Henna, Sicily, the whole world). The Fasti version is thus Callimachean without failing to conform to the Roman character of the poem by placing Rome at the climax of the journey, and its world below Ceres’ chariot flight.

Affiliations: 1: University of St Andrews, School of Classics St AndrewsUnited Kingdom


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