king of the gods. Jupiter is the son of Saturn, the husband and
sister of Juno, and the brother of Neptune and Dis. He is often
called Jove. Jupiter’s decisions drive much of the plot of the Metamorphoses
A violent and sexual god, he floods the earth and frequently rapes
in-depth analysis of Jupiter.
queen of the gods. Juno is the daughter of Saturn and the wife and
sister of Jupiter. A wrathful woman, she often catches her husband
cheating and seeks to punish his lovers.
in-depth analysis of Juno.
god of the sun. Apollo is Jupiter’s son. A great archer, he is oftentimes
hotheaded and lustful.
in-depth analysis of Apollo.
goddess of love. Venus is the daughter of Jupiter and Dione and
the mother of Cupid and Aeneas.
god of love. Cupid is the son of Venus and Mars. He often causes
mischief. Many of the gods fall victim to his arrows, including
Apollo, who falls in love with Daphne; Dis, who falls in love with
Proserpina; and Venus, Cupid’s mother, who falls in love with Adonis.
god of the sea. Neptune is the son of Saturn and the brother of
Jupiter and Dis.
messenger. Mercury is the son of Jupiter and Maia.
god of wine. Bacchus is the son of Jupiter and Semele. He comes
to full term in Jupiter’s thigh. As an adult, he takes vengeance
on Pentheus and the daughters of Minyas.
virgin warrior and the patron of Athens. Minerva is the daughter
of Jupiter. She competes with Arachne in a weaving contest.
queen of the underworld. Proserpina is the daughter of Jupiter and
Ceres and the wife of Dis, who rapes her and takes her to the underworld.
goddess of agriculture. Ceres is the sister of Jupiter, who is also
the father of Ceres’s daughter, Proserpina, with Jupiter. She searches
for Proserpina after Dis steals her.
god of healing. Aesculapius is the son of Apollo and Coronis. He
rids Rome of its plague in Book XV.
god of the underworld. Dis is the son of Saturn, the brother of
Jupiter and Neptune, and the husband of Proserpina, whom he forces
into his kingdom.
metal smith of the gods. Vulcan is the son of Juno and the husband
- The daughter
of Inachus. Jupiter rapes Io and turns her into a bull. Later, she
river god and shape-shifter. Achelous fights Hercules for the hand
of Deianira. Hercules overpowers him and breaks his horn.
daughter of Titans Coeus and Phoebe and the mother of Apollo and
Diana. Latona takes revenge on Niobe.
sisters and goddesses of vengeance. The Furies can cause living
people to go mad.
sea nymph. Thetis is the daughter of Nereus and Doris, the wife
of Peleus, and the mother of Achilles.
nymph. Salmacis seeks Hermaphroditus and becomes one with him.
nymph. Scylla rejects Glaucus. Circe changes her into a monster.
Scylla (daughter of Nisus)
- Another character named Scylla, this one is the daughter
of Nisus, She falls in love with Minos and betrays her father and
river god. Inachus is the father of Io.
daughter of Peneus. Daphne is transformed into a laurel tree as
Apollo seeks to rape her.
- A nymph.
Juno punishes Echo, making her unable to speak except to repeat
the words of others. Echo loves Narcissus.
nymph. Galatea loves Acis. Polyphemus loves Galatea.
magician. Circe is the daughter of the Sun and the nymph Perse.
famous bard and poet. Orpheus is the son of Apollo and Calliope
and the husband of Eurydice. He sings in Books X and XI. He tells
some of the most memorable stories in the poem, such as the tale
of Pygmalion. He loses his wife twice but rejoins her in the underworld.
in-depth analysis of Orpheus.
great artist. Pygmalion sculpts an ivory statue of a woman that
comes to life.
famed warrior. Theseus is the son of Aegeus, the husband of Phaedra,
and the father of Hippolytus. He destroys the Minotaur.
son of Agenor, the husband of Harmonia, and the founder of Thebes.
He slays a serpent to establish Thebes, and at the end of his life
he is turned into a serpent.
King of Crete. Minos is the son of Europa and the husband of Pasiphae.
grandson of Cadmus and the son of Autonoe. Diana turns Actaeon into
a deer as a punishment for seeing her naked.
rival in the art of weaving. Arachne is the daughter of Idmon. Minerva
transforms Arachne into a spider.
King of Thebes. Pentheus is the son of Echion and Agave. He is a
vocal opponent of the worship of Bacchus.
comical Greek hero, in Ovid’s portrayal. Perseus is the son of Jupiter
and Danae and the husband of Andromeda. Perseus slays Medusa and
the sea monster.
lover. Pyramus commits suicide because he believes Thisbe is dead.
son of Aeson and the husband of Medea. Jason procures the Golden
Muse of poetry. Calliope is the mother of Orpheus. She sings in
a contest against the Pierides in Book V.
follower of Diana. Callisto is the daughter of Lycaon and the mother
of Arcas. After Jupiter rapes Callisto, Juno transforms her into
a bear. Finally, Jupiter makes her into a constellation.
powerful magician. Medea is the daughter of Aeetes and the wife
of Jason. She delivers the most soul-searching soliloquy in the Metamorphoses,
son of Miletus and Cyanne and the twin brother of Byblis. Byblis
falls in love with him.
son of Cephisus, a river god, and Liriope, a nymph. Narcissus falls
in love with his own reflection and dies.
daughter of Cepheus and Cassiope. Perseus rescues Andromeda from
the sea monster and marries her.
daughter of Pandion, the sister of Philomela, the wife of the tyrant
Tereus, and the mother of Itys.
son of Clymene and the Sun. Phaethon takes his father’s chariot
and almost destroys the world.
shipmaster and a convert to Bacchus. Acoetes tries to convince Pentheus
to worship Bacchus.
great inventor. Daedalus is the father of Icarus. He creates the
labyrinth and wings to flee from Crete.
greatest Greek hero, and the first person to be deified in the Metamorphoses
Hercules is the son of Jupiter and Alcmena and the husband of Deianira
Venus turns the Propoetides to stone for their shamelessness.
of the two survivors of the flood. Pyrrha is the daughter of Epimetheus
and the wife of Deucalion.
mother of Hercules.
son of Aeacus, the brother of Telamon, the husband of Thetis, and
the father of Achilles.
daughter of Cadmus, the lover of Jupiter, and the mother of Bacchus.
priestess of Apollo at Cumae.
of the two survivors of the flood. The son of Prometheus and the
husband of Pyrrha.
nymph. Coronis is a lover of Apollo, who kills her in a fit of passion.
She bears Aesculapius.
King of Latium. Picus is the son of Saturn and the husband of Canens.
Circe transforms him into a woodpecker after he spurns her love.
daughters of Pierus. The Pierides challenge the Muses to a poetry
contest. The Pierides lose, and the Muses turn them into magpies
for their arrogance.
son of Megareus. Venus turns Hippomenes into a lion for his ingratitude.
son of Daedalus. Icarus flies too close to the sun and plunges to
daughter of Agenor and the mother of Minos and Rhadamanthus. Jupiter
daughter of Aeolus and the beloved wife of Ceyx. Alcyone is changed
into a bird with her husband.
King of Trachin. Ceyx is the husband of Alcyone. He dies in a storm
and is changed into a bird with his wife.
huntress in the Calydonian boar hunt. Atalanta is known for her
daughter of Cadmus, the mother of Actaeon, and the aunt of Pentheus.
Autonoe rips off Pentheus’s arms in a bacchic frenzy.
daughter of Miletus and Cyanee and the twin sister of Caunis. Byblis
falls in love with her twin brother, Caunis.
wife of Hercules. Deianira accidentally kills Hercules by giving
him a poisoned robe.
daughter of Phorcys and Keto. Neptune rapes Medusa, and Athena turns
her into a monster. Medusa’s gaze turns people to stone.
Phrygian king. Midas has a golden touch, and he is a poor literary
critic. Apollo punishes him by giving him donkey ears.
daughter of Cinyras. Myrrha falls in love with her father and manages
to sleep with him. He is transformed into a Myrrh tree.
son of Theseus and an Amazon woman. Hippolytus is falsely accused
of sleeping with his father’s wife. He appears in a resuscitated
form in Book XV.
famously clever Greek soldier. Ulysses is the son of Laertes and
the husband of Penelope. He defeats Ajax in a verbal contest for
the arms of Achilles.
Trojan hero and the founder of Rome. Aeneas is the son of Anchises
and Venus and the father of Ascanius. Aeneas is the second person
in the Metamorphoses
to be deified.
- A great
Greek warrior. Ajax is the son of Telamon. He contends with Ulysses
for Achilles’ armor and loses. He commits suicide and turns into
greatest Greek warrior in the Trojan War. Achilles is the son of
Peleus and Thetis. He kills Hector in hand-to-hand combat.
Roman statesman and general. Julius Caesar is assassinated in 44b.c
and deified. His nephew, Augustus, is the first emperor of Rome.
son of Neleus. Nestor is fond of telling stories.
first emperor of Rome. Augustus is the nephew of Julius Caesar.
He may be equated with Jupiter in Book XV.
invulnerable son of Neptune and Canace. Achilles strangles Cycnus
in battle and kills him.
champion of Troy. Hector is the son of Priam. Achilles bests him
in battle in the Trojan War.
great Greek warrior. Diomede is a friend of Ulysses’.
Greek general and the king of Mycenae. Agamemnon is the son of Atreus.
son of Mars and Ilia and the brother of Remus. Romulus is the third
person to be deified in the Metamorphoses
father of Aeneas and a lover of Venus.
first King of Alba Longa. Ascanius is the son of Aeneas and Creusa.