The New, Annotated Edition
Ovid, translated by Rolfe Humphries
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 04/13/2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-03359-8
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Ovid’s Metamorphoses is one of the most influential works of Western literature, inspiring artists and writers from Titian to Shakespeare to Salman Rushdie. These are some of the most famous Roman myths as you’ve never read them before—sensuous, dangerously witty, audacious—from the fall of Troy to birth of the minotaur, and many others that only appear in the Metamorphoses. Connected together by the immutable laws of change and metamorphosis, the myths tell the story of the world from its creation up to the transformation of Julius Caesar from man into god.

In the ten-beat, unrhymed lines of this now-legendary and widely praised translation, Rolfe Humphries captures the spirit of Ovid’s swift and conversational language, bringing the wit and sophistication of the Roman poet to modern readers.

This special annotated edition includes new, comprehensive commentary and notes by Joseph D. Reed, Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at Brown University.

Author Bio

Poet and critic Rolfe Humphries (1894–1969) also translated Virgil's Aeneid, Lucretius's On the Nature of Things, Ovid's Art of Love, and Juvenal's Satires.

Joseph D. Reed is Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at Brown University. He is the author of Virgil's Gaze: Nation and Poetry in the Aeneid.


“Not too many 12,000-line translations from the ’50s are still in print, let alone getting a brand new set of annotations. About those I wanna say: jam a bookmark back there and read every single note. They’re the real thing, impossible to fake. . . . As for the translation as a whole, the main thing it’s got going for it is clarity. I, for one, felt I was able to pay attention to the stuff like never before. . . . So I say double thumbs up to Humphries and Reed. Recommended.”

“Reed's annotated edition of Ovid's realistic, moving, and influential classic can now easily be adopted for classroom use, and it will also serve the curious who wish to know more about this unparalleled, captivating array of Roman mythology. . . . Highly recommended. ”
 — Choice

“One of the most captivating books ever written, a whole library of love stories, murder stories, horror stories, fairy stories, and adventure stories. . . Humphries’s version. . . has the sound merits of directness, unpretentiousness and integrity. . . [His English is] swift, lucid . . . and admirably suited to its general purpose, the telling of a story.”
 — The New York Times

“So easy to read that one may have to think twice to realize these tales are nearly 2000 years old.”
 — Washington Post

“It is very much alive, fresh, racy, and above all, vivid. . . .Humphries reproduces most successfully the speed and animation of Ovid’s narrative, its modernity, its gaiety, and its tenderness.”
 — Classical Review

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Table of Contents




The Creation

The Four Ages

Jove’s Intervention

The Story of Lycaon

The Flood

Deucalion and Pyrrha

Apollo and Daphne

Jove and Io


The Story of Phaethon

Jove in Arcady

The Story of the Raven

The Story of Ocyrhoe

Mercury and Battus

Mercury, Herse, and Aglauros

The House of the Goddess Envy



The Story of Cadmus

The Story of Actaeon

The Story of Semele

The Story of Tiresias

The Story of Echo and Narcissus

The Story of Pentheus and Bacchus


The Story of Pyramus and Thisbe

The Story of Mars and Venus

The Sun-god and Leucothoe

The Story of Salmacis

The End of the Daughters of Minyas

The Story of Athamas and Ino

The End of Cadmus

The Story of Perseus


The Fighting of Perseus

Minerva Visits the Muses


The Story of Niobe

The Story of Tereus, Procne, and Philomela


The Story of Jason and Medea

War Between Crete and Athens

The Story of Cephalus and Procris


The Story of Nisus and Scylla

The Story of Daedalus and Icarus

The Calydonian Boar

The Brand of Meleager

The Return of Theseus

The Story of Baucis and Philemon

The Story of Erysichthon


The Story of Achelous’ Duel for Deianira

The Story of Hercules, Nessus, and Deianira

The Story of Hercules’ Birth

The Story of Dry ope

The Story of Caunus and Byblis

The Story of Iphis and Lanthe


The Story of Orpheus and Eurydice

The Story of Cyparissus

The Story of Ganymede

The Story of Apollo and Hyacinthus

Two Incidents of Venus Anger

The Story of Pygmalion

The Story of Cinyras and Myrrha

The Story of Adonis

Venus Tells Adonis the Story of Atalanta

The Fate of Adonis


The Death of Orpheus

The Story of Midas

Midas Never Learns

The Building of the Walls of Troy

The Story of Thetis

Ceyx Tells the Story of Daedalion

The Story of Peleus’ Cattle

The Quest of Ceyx

The Story of Aesacus and Hesperia


The Invasion of Troy

Nestor Tells the Story of Caeneus

Story of the Battle with the Centaurs

Nestor Is Asked Why He Omitted Hercules


The Argument between Ajax and Ulysses

After the Fall

The Sacrifice of Polyxena

The Discovery of Polydorus

The Story of Memnon

The Pilgrimage of Aeneas

The Story of Anius’ Daughters

The Pilgrimage Resumed

The Story of Galatea

The Song of Polyphemus

The Transformation of Acis

The Story of Glaucus


The Story of Glaucus Continued

The Pilgrimage of Aeneas Resumed

Achaemenides Tells His Story

The Story of Picus

The Pilgrimage of Aeneas Resumed

The Narrative of Diomedes

The Return of Venulus

The Deification of Aeneas

Legendary History of Rome

Pomona and Vertumnus

The Story of Iphis and Anaxarete

More Early Roman History


The Succession of Numa

The Teachings of Pythagoras

The Return of Numa

The Story of Hippolytus

The Story of Cipus

The Story of Aesculapius

The Deification of Caesar

The Epilogue


COMMENTARY by Joseph D. Reed