Prometheus is sometimes credited with creating man by sculpting him out of clay. Other versions simply credit him with bringing man fire, an act for which he was terribly punished.
Also called Jupiter, Jove is the king of the Gods. He controls the thunderbolt and has the power to transform himself into many other things. Juno is both his sister and his wife.
Jove's father. Jove fulfilled a prophecy by overthrowing his father to become king of the gods.
The adopted son of Julius Caesar, Augustus becomes a Roman Emperor and oversees the greatest period of peace and prosperity in Roman history. He was the emperor throughout Ovid's life.
King Lycaon plots to kill Jove while he is a guest in his house, and first he attempts to trick him into consuming human flesh. Jove destroys his house with a thunderbolt and Lycaon goes mad and thinks he is a wolf.
God of the sea, one of the most powerful gods after Jove.
A pious man, he and his wife are the only two to survive after Jove floods the earth.
One of the race of ancient Titans born of Gaia and Uranus, she is an ancient goddess worshipped by all believers in the immortals.
A gigantic snake killed by Apollo, inspiring the Pythian games.
Phoebus Apollo, often referred to as Phoebus; The son of Zeus and Leto and the twin brother of Artemis. Apollo is the God of Music, Medicine, Prophecy and the arts. In the Metamorphoses, Apollo is also portrayed as the sun god, but this characterization contradicts most mythology which names a distinct sun-god named Helios.
His origins are somewhat unclear, but Ovid represents him as Venus's son. Cupid has the power to instill or destroy love with his bow and arrows.
Daughter of the river-god Peneus, Daphne is a wood nymph who wishes to live chaste, like Diana. When she flees the love of Apollo, she prays to her father to save her and he transforms her into a Laurel tree.
A river god, father of Daphne.
Goddess of the moon and the hunt, she foreswears all men and remains a virgin.
A river god whose daughter, Io, is seduced by Zeus.
Daughter of inachus, the river god, she is seduced by Zeus, who then turns her into a cow to protect her from Juno.
Jove's sister and wife, Queen of the gods.
A man with one hundred eyes whom Juno sets to keep guard over Io in cow form. He is killed by Mercury and Juno sets his eyes into the tail of the peacock.
Sometimes, but not always, equated with the Greek Hermes, Mercury is the god of trade and profit.
A river nymph who was transformed into a reed so she might escape Pan.
A satyr, the god of shepherds, Pan invents the reed pipe and is generally pictured with it.
The son of Jove and Io.
The son of Clymene and Apollo, when Apollo offers to grant any wish to prove he is his father, Phaethon asks to drive the chariot of the sun. He is killed in the process.
A river god
Phaethon's friend, he mourns him for so long that he is turned into a swan, a bird which fears flying.
One of Diana's handmaids, she is raped by Jove. When her pregnancy is discovered, she is banished. When Juno discovers their affair, she turns Callisto into a bear.
Callisto and Jove's son. When he is fifteen he almost kills his mother, who has been transformed into a bear, and as a result he and his mother are turned into constellations.
One of the goddesses of the Ocean, mother of all the other bodies of water.
God of the ocean.
Apollo's lover and mother of his son Aesculapius. She betrays him with another before their son is even born, and when the raven tells Apollo, he kills her, but saves their son.
Also called Pallas and Minerva, Athena is the goddess of wisdom, war, the arts and justice. She is Jove's favorite daughter.
Apollo's son by Coronis, he is the god of healing.
Hercules's teacher, a centaur known for his wisdom and learning, especially in medicine.
Chiron's daughter, she has the gift of prophecy.
The shepherd that promised Mercury he would not reveal the location of the herd Mercury stole; when his lie is revealed, Mercury turns him into stone.
A beautiful maiden who is raped by Mercury and gives birth to Cephalus.
Herse's sister, Juno sends Envy to infect her, and she tries to prevent Mercury from gaining access to her sister. She is turned to stone.
A princess whom Jove fell in love with and successfully kidnapped by disguising himself as a beautiful, white bull.
Europa's brother, he is banished for being unable to recover his sister. He founds a new city called Boeotia.
Cadmus's grandson, he accidentally stumbles upon Diana bathing, is turned into a stag, and is torn apart by his own dogs.
A beautiful girl seduced by Jove, she is tricked by Juno into asking to see him in his full glory, which kills her.
God of wine and Intoxication. He is the son of Jove and Semele, and he comes to term in Jove's thigh, after Semele is killed. Worship of him inspires frenzy in groups of revelers, but many also disputed his claims to divinity.
A man who has also been a woman, he is blinded by Juno and given the gift of prophecy by Jove.
A beautiful young man who fell in love with his own reflection and died from the pain of being unable to be with himself.
A nymph who angered Juno by helping Jove hide his infidelities. Juno punished her by making her only able to repeat the words said by others. She falls in love with Narcissus, who ignores her until she fades away to nothing but her voice.
A king who scorns the power of the gods, especially Bacchus, and in punishment is torn apart by his wife and daughters.
A priest of Bacchus
The daughters of Minyas
A group of women that refuse to worship Bacchus and are turned into bats as a result.
One of the daughters of Minyas.
A young man who falls in love with the girl next door (Thisbe), and who runs away with her, but tragic misunderstanding leads to both of their deaths.
A young girl who falls in love with Pyramus, and who runs away with him, but a tragic misunderstanding leads to their deaths.
One of the daughters of Minyas
God of War
Goddess of Love
God of fire and the forge, Venus's husband.
A mortal lover of Apollo.
Passionately in love with Apollo, she betrays Leucothoe to her father.
One of the daughters of Minyas
The son of Aphrodite and Hermes, Hermaphroditus was incredibly beautiful. Salmacis, a nymph, fell desperately in love wtih him, and one day while he was swimming, she cleaved to him and begged that the gods transform them into one person. Her wish was granted and Hermaphroditus became a person both male and female.
The nymph that falls in love with Hermaphroditus and brings about his transformation.
Ino's husband and part of Cadmus's line, because of Juno he is driven mad by the furies and kills his own son.
After her husband kills her son, she takes him and jumps into the sea. At Venus's request, Neptune turns her and her child into sea-gods.
A man who closed his city, Argos, to Bacchus and then later refuses to acknowledge the divinity of Perseus. His city is infected with snakes that spring up from the blood of Medusa's head, after Perseus flies over the city.
A hero who kills Medusa, saves Andromeda from sacrifice and performs a number of other impressive deeds.
Once a beautiful girl, she is raped by Neptune in Athena's temple and Athena punishes her for desecrating her temple by turning her hair into snakes. Medusa turns people into stone when she looks at them. She is killed by Perseus.
One of the Titans, his punishment for storming heaven was to hold up the heavens on his shoulders. Perseus turns him into stone with the head of Medusa.
When Andromeda's mother insults the Nereids, Neptune demands her sacrifice as payment. Perseus rescues her and marries her.
A winged horse born from the blood of Medusa when Perseus cut off her head.
A giant born from the blood of Medusa when Perseus cuts off her head.
Andromeda's uncle, whom she was originally supposed to marry.
A group of nine goddesses of art and science. They are believed to inspire all artistic creation.
An evil king who tried to imprison the muses, but who fell from a tower and died after they fled.
One of the Muses
Goddess of the harvest, Proserpine's mother.
Also called Pluto, king of the Underworld.
Ceres daughter, she becomes Queen of the Underworld.
A nymph that tries to save Proserpine from being kidnapped by Dis.
One of the Argonauts, he is killed at Troy.
: A nymph who tells Ceres where her daughter has disappeared to, who is stuck inside a spring since she asked Diana to help her escape the unwanted advances of Alpheus.
The man who pursued Arethusa.
A follower of Ceres.
King of the Scythians, he is angry when Triptolemus brings him magic seeds from Ceres, because he wants all the credit for himself.
A girl renowned for her skill at weaving who dares to challenge Athena to a contest. Her hubris is punished by her transformation into a spider.
A girl whom Jove rapes in the form of a swan; she gives birth to the twins Castor and Pollux.
Wife of Amphion and Queen of Thebes, she dared to suggest that she was more worthy of worship than Latona, because she had fourteen children while Latona only had two. In response, Latona had all of her children killed.
Niobe's husband, he kills himself after his children are killed.
Tiresias's daughter, she also has the gift of prophecy.
Mother of Apollo and Diana
The satyr who challenges Apollo to a flute-playing contest, whom Apollo flays as punishment when the satyr loses.
Tereus of Thrace
He marries Procne, but then falls in love with her sister Philomela. He kidnaps and rapes her, and he cuts out her tongue when she threatens to betray him. Procne finds out, kills their son, and feeds him to her husband.
King of Athens, father of Procne and Philomela, he dies when he finds out what happened to his daughters.
Daughter of Pandion and wife of Tereus.
God of marriage.
the Three Graces
Daughters of Jove, the goddesses of beauty and charm, also known as the Three Charities.
Another name for the Furies.
Procne's sister, she is raped by Tereus and has her tongue cut out, but she still manages to get word to Procne.
one of Erectheus's daughters, she marries Boreas god of the North wind, without her father's consent.
The father of Medea, Jason is sent to get the golden fleece from him.
At the demand of King Pelias, Jason is sent to get the Golden Fleece from King Aeetes. He succeeds only with the help of Aeetes daughter, Medea, who falls in love with him.
The daughter of King Aeetes and a powerful sorceress, Medea falls in love with Jason and helps him gain the Golden Fleece on the condition that he will marry her and take her away. When she discovers that Jason has remarried, she kills her children and his new wife.
The goddess of the crossroads, often invoked by those doing dark magic.
Father of Jason, his youth and health are restored by Medea's magic arts.
The king who stole Aeson's throne; Medea tricks his daughters into thinking she will restore his youth, then kills him.
The woman that Jason marries while Medea is fleeing punishment for Pelias's death.
King of Athens, he gives sanctuary to and marries Medea, until she almost kills his son, Theseus.
Theseus is one of the victims chosen to be sacrificed to the minotaur. Princess Ariadne falls in love with him and helps him conquer the minotaur, but he abandons her at Athena's behest. He later becomes king of Athens.
King of Crete; Minos's wife is infected with an unnatural passion for a bull which was supposed to be a sacrifice for Neptune. She gives birth to a minotaur, half-bull and half-man, and Minos forces the captive Daedalus to build a labyrinth for it. He demands that every nine years seven Athenian youths and girls be sent as a sacrifice to the minotaur.
A prince of Athens who seeks help from Aeacus, king of Aegina, in Athens' war against Crete.
King of Aegina, he helps Cephalus in Athens' war against Crete.
Minos's son; his death inspires Minos's war against Athens.
Daughter of Erechteus, married to Cephalus.
Goddess of the Dawn
A tragic hero of Greek literature. Despite all attempts to avoid it, he inadvertently fulfills a prophecy that he will kill his father and marry his mother.
King of Alcathous, Minos defeats him after his daughter Scylla betrays him.
Scylla of Alcathous
Daughter of King Nisus, she falls in love with King Minos and betrays the city to him. He rejects her, and she is transformed into a bird.
A famous inventor and architect, after Daedalus killed his nephew Telus, he fled to Minos's court at Crete. When he tires of working for Minos, he escapes with his son Icarus by building wings out of feathers and wax. His son Icarus is killed when he flies too close to the sun.
Child of Pasiphae (wife of King Minos) and a bull, the minotaur is half-man and half-bull.
Daughter of King Minos, she falls in love with Theseus and helps him defeat the minotaur. They flee together, but he abandons her on the journey home.
Son of Daedalus, he dies when he flies too close to the son and the wax in his wings melt.
Daedalus's nephew who was sent to him as an apprentice. Daedalus was jealous of his talent and killed him.
After he forgets to sacrifice to Diana, she sends a wild boar to ravage his land.
King Oeneus's son, he kills the wild boar sent by Diana, but then kills his uncles in a fight over the spoils and is murdered by his mother.
A Greek athlete, Atalanta wishes to stay chaste like Diana. She determines that she will only marry the man who can beat her in a race, and those who lose must be willing to lose their life as well. She is happily conquered by Hippomenes thanks to Venus's help.
A river god who shelters Theseus during a storm.
A god of the sea.
A pious women; she and her husband are the only two to take in Jove and Mercury when they wander the earth disguised as lonely travelers.
A sea god with the power to change his shape as well as the power of prophecy.
Daughter of Erysichthon, she as the power to change her shape. Her father uses this ability to satisfy his insatiable hunger.
The personification of hunger.
A woman that Achelous and Hercules fought over. Hercules won and married her.
A centaur who is killed by Hercules when he tries to run off with his wife, Deianira.
The woman Hercules marries to his son, Hyllus.
The goddess of childbirth.
One of Alcmena's maidservants, she tricks Lucina and allows her mistress to give birth.
Iole's half-sister; she is turned into a tree after accidentally picking flowers from a tree that was actually a nymph.
Hercules nephew, he is brought back to life by Hebe, Hercules' wife.
The goddess of youth, she becomes Hercules' wife after he becomes a god.
Caunus's twin sister, she feels an unnatural passion for her brother, and eventually she is turned into a fountain.
Byblis's twin brother; he rejects her strange advances.
The man who tells his pregnant wife that is she has a daughter, she must put her to death.
Ligdus and Telethusa's daughter who is disguised as a son and eventually turns into a boy.
The woman Iphis loves and marries.
A skilled poet and singer, especially sacred to Bacchus, he becomes heartbroken after his wife is killed by a snakebite.
June's cup-bearer, whom Jove steals away.
Apollo's lover, he is accidentally killed by a discus thrown by Apollo.
A talented sculptor who became disgusted by women and spent all his time working on an ivory statue of a woman. During a festival to Venus, he prayed that the statue would come to life and it did.
Myrrha falls in love with her own father and tricks him into sleeping with her. When he discovers what happened, she flees, and eventually she is turned into a Myrrh tree. Her son, Adonis, is born from the tree.
Myrrha's son by her father, grows up to be a beautiful youth. Venus falls in love with him, but he is killed by a wild boar.
Hippomenes wins Atalanta with Venus's help and three golden apples.
He returns Silenus, accidentally taken hostage, to Bacchus and is rewarded with one wish. He asks that everything he touch turn into gold, but soon after he must beg to have the wish taken back.
A mountain god, he judges who is the better musician, Apollo or Pan.
The dishonest king who founds Troy.
Neptune demands her sacrifice but she is saved by Hercules, who marries her to his companion, Telamon.
Hercules companion, he marries Hesione.
Telamon's brother, he is married to Thetis.
The son of the mortal Peleus and the Nereid Thetis, when he is born, Thetis uses fire to burn the humanity out of him, but she is prevented from finishing. Achilles heel is still vulnerable to wound. He is a Greek hero, and he fights valiantly in the Trojan war, before Paris kills him by shooting an arrow into his heel.
King of Thessaly, he perishes at sea, but his body is returned to his wife, and when she receives it they are both turned into birds.
Phocus is killed by his brothers, Peleus and Telamon.
He is so sad when his daughter Chione is killed, he throws himself off a cliff; his death is prevented when Apollo changes him into an eagle.
Chione is seduced by both Apollo and Mercury, and she gives birth to twins, each child fathered by a different god. She is too proud and compares herself favorably to Diana, who kills her.
One of Peleus's men.
One of the gods of sleep.
one of Hector's brothers; he is turned into a bird.
The eldest son of Priam and Hecuba, he is the mightiest warrior on the side of the Trojans in the Trojan war.
King of Troy, father of Hector and Paris.
The youngest son of Hecuba and Priam, he steals Helen and starts the Trojan war.
The daughter of Jove and Leda, when Helen was married to Menelaus, all her other suitors became his allies. When Paris stole Helen and took her to Troy, all these cities came together to fight and get her back.
The brother of Menelaus, he agreed to sacrifice his daughter to Diana in order to gain a favorable wind to sail to Troy.
Agamemnon's daughter who he is supposed to sacrifice, many versions of the myth state that at the last minute, Diana switched her with a calf.
The personification of rumor or gossip.
A wise Greek general in the Trojan war.
A victim of Neptune's lust, he grants her a wish and she wishes to be made a man. He throws in invincibility, but Caenis is eventually killed or at least destroyed in a fight with a number of centaurs.
A Greek who fights in the Trojan war.
One of the Greek Generals, Ulysses is considered the wisest and wiliest of all the fighters. He is the hero of the Greek epic, the Odyssey.
A daughter of Hecuba and Priam, she has the gift of prophecy. She is taken by Agamemnon as a hostage after the war.
Priam and Hecuba's son, he was sent to Polymestor during the Trojan War, but Polymestor kills him.
Kills Polydorus for a cache of gold and is torn apart by Hecuba's women.
Hecuba and Priam's son, she is sacrificed by Agamemnon to Achilles.
Aurora's son, he is killed during the Trojan war.
Son of Anchises and Venus, he survives the Trojan war and found the country of Italy after a long and dangerous journey.
A Trojan seer
Once a beautiful girl, Circe turned her into a monster out of jealousy. Now she is an ocean obstacle that sailors must pass, including Ulysses and Aeneas.
A whirlpool near Scylla that makes that area of the ocean particularly dangerous.
A Nereid who falls in love with the handsome Acis, but is tormented by the love of the Cyclops Polyphemus. He kills Acis, but she is able to turn him into a river-god.
A young man whom Galatea loves.
A Cyclops who fights with Ulysses and loses an eye. He also falls in love with the nymph Galatea.
A fisherman who becomes a sea-god, falls in love with Scylla and inadvertently causes her to be turned into a monster.
A powerful sorceress who is most famous for turning men into animals. She has a love affair with Ulysses.
Queen of Carthage, she falls in love with Aeneas and kills herself when he leaves her.
Sibyl at Cumae
One of Apollo's seers; when the Sibyl was young and beautiful, Apollo loved her and granted her a wish. She wished to live as long as their were grains of dust in a pile, but she forgot to wish for eternal youth.
One of Ulysses companions, he settles at Cumae.
A Greek whom Ulysses abandons to Polyphemus and who is rescued by Aeneas.
God of the winds.
A son of Saturn, he is turned into a woodpecker by Circe when he rejects her.
Picus's beloved wife; after he disappears, she cries until she melts into a puddle.
The woman that Aeneas marries when he finds the land for his new city.
The man whom Lavinia was supposed to marry, he engages Aeneas in a long and bloody war.
Aeneas's son, he becomes the first king of Latium.
A nymph who excels at gardening, she wishes to remain unmarried and locks herself away from men.
A man who falls in love with Pomona and manages to woo her successfully.
A poor man who falls in love with the noble Anaxarete and kills himself when he can no longer take her rejection.
A cold and noble woman who turns to stone, after she fails to feel any pity for Iphis, who kills himself for love of her.
The founder of Rome, he is deified by Jove after Tatius's death.
The Sabine leader who shares the throne with Romulus.
Goddess of the rainbow and the messenger of the gods, especially Juno.
He becomes King of Rome after Romulus's death.
Founder of the city Crotona, on Hercules's orders.
A Greek philosopher.
Theseus's son, banished after his step-mother Phaedra attempts to seduce him and then accuses him of the same crime. He is then thrown from his chariot and killed. Even after Aesculapius restores his life, he is not able to return to civilization, for fear that too many would be jealous of his second chance.
The praetor who sprouts horns from his head and convinces the Roman Senators to banish him from the city so he does not become a tyrant.
A great Roman leader who, before he can become emperor, is killed by his own Senate. Augustus, his adopted son, inherits the empery.
Augustus's son and Emperor after his death.
Metamorphoses Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Metamorphoses is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
"Oh, God", he thought, "what a strenuous career it is that I've chosen! Travelling day in and day out. Doing business like this takes much more effort than doing your own business at home, and on top...