Ovid – Introduction, Books I & II

Hi Everyone,

We held our first Ovid reading group on Tuesday, May 10 and it was a great discussion!

We discussed the Introduction plus books I & II and you can listen here:




11. May 2016 by Kristen Kmiec
Categories: Commentary, Ovid, Reader Call | Tags: , , | 1 comment

One Comment

  1. Ovid’s Artistic Description of the Milky Way

    Ovid Metamorphoses I. 168-180 “The Milky Way”

    My commentary: Patterns in Ovid’s poetic style for this particular passage include a “hyperbaton” in almost every line. A hyperbaton is when two words, usually a noun-adjective combination, are split and separated in the Latin word order. Ovid’s deliberate and frequent use of these hyperbatons in this passage, where two words flank another, emphasizes the permanence of these divine abodes as well as their majesty. We may even perhaps see this passage as a constellation with fixed clusters of stars dispersed among the lines of poetry, and with the meter helping to gently vary the distances between these clusters. You may notice that many of the lines have a natural pause ( ) (“caesura”) near the center that Ovid tries to preserve in these particular lines. Perhaps this might reveal the central path of the Milky Way as it points through this carpet of stars.

    Original Latin
    Literal translation
    Lombardo translation

    Est via sublimis, caelo manifesta sereno;
    (There) is (a) lofty way, clear in (the) serene sky;
    On a clear night you can see a road in the sky

    lactea nomen habet, candore notabilis ipso.
    (It) has (the) name “Milky,” notable in (its) very candor.
    Called the Milky Way, renowned for its white glow.

    hac iter est superis ad magni tecta Tonantis
    In this (way, there) is (a) path for (the) gods toward (the) halls of the great Thunderer
    This is the road the gods take to the royal palace

    regalemque domum: dextra laevaque deorum
    and (his) royal house: on (the) right and left, (the) living-rooms
    Of the great thunderer. To the right and the left

    atria nobilium valvis celebrantur apertis.
    of the upper gods are crowded with (their) opened shutters.
    The halls of the divine authority, doors flung open,

    plebs habitat diversa locis: hac parte potentes
    (The) lower-class of (gods) lives apart in (their) places: in this part, powerful
    Are thronged with guests. The plebeian gods

    caelicolae clarique suos posuere penates;
    and famous sky-dwellers have established their own household shrines;
    Live in a different neighborhood, but the great

    hic locus est, quem, si verbis audacia detur,
    this is the place, which, if boldness may be given to (my) words,
    All have their homes along this avenue. This quarter,

    haud timeam magni dixisse Palatia caeli.
    I may hardly fear to have said (to be the) Palatia (of the) great sky.
    If I may say so, is high heaven’s Palatine.