Introduction to Book I of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

Ovid (43 B.C. to 17/18 A.D.), born Publius Ovidius Naso, was a Roman poet who was banished by the unjust Augustus Caesar in 8 A.D., the same year he wrote Metamorphoses. This work is composed of fifteen books, which contain two hundred and fifty myths. They recount stories from the Creation until the death of Julius Caesar.

Metamorphoses begins with an invocation to the immortal Roman gods. The Creation, from the point of view of the Ancient Romans, began with Chaos. Then an unknown god made order out of this Chaos. After this, the various elements and man were created. Man’s divinity depends on whether or not the divine god Prometheus created him. (To see a different account of the Creation from the Roman point of view, see Hesiod – Theogony.)

Metamorphoses
Metamorphoses

Ovid said that there are four ages, the Golden age, the Silver age, the Bronze age, and the Iron age. The first was so pure that there was no need for law enforcement as there was no tendency toward sin, evil or bloodshed. The Silver age saw the creation of the four seasons and the use of agriculture. In the third age, the Bronze age, war began but without a criminal purpose. The Iron age is the current age and the worst. All good virtues have fled and have been replaced with greed. Useless wars have started due to the greedy nature of man.

This is the introduction to book one of Metamorphoses by Ovid.

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