Influential Works VI – Ovid

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1 min read

Given the rhyme, it may be important to point out that Ovid ain’t COVID, and there isn’t an ancient Roman conspiracy theory involved here, despite the disease’s transformation of our society over recent weeks.

See, Ovid’s most influential work was Metamorphoses, which is about transformations, and boy, it’s jam-packed with influence. It in itself is a compilation of Greco-Roman myth, leading up to the ascension of Julius Caesar to godhood, according to their mythos.

It’s been about 20 years since I’ve read the entire work, but I reference it myself in my fiction and poetry, as do countless (and I mean countless) other authors, songwriters, filmmakers, painters, and anyone else in any other medium you can imagine. Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare drew inspiration from Ovid. Carvaggio. I won’t even list any more. It would be insane to attempt.

There’s this scene in one of MARVEL’S Avengers movies where Captain America says “I understood that reference…” in response to another character’s meta movie quote. Once you read Ovid, you’ll begin to understand so many references and tropes it’ll make your head spin. 

Here are just a handful:

Jupiter and Europa

The story of Echo and Narcissus

Minerva and the Muses

Hercules

Troy

etc.

Now, you’ll note that these are retellings of older myths to suit the times in which Ovid lived, under the Roman Empire, having been born about a year after the death of Julius Caesar, and his Metamorphoses around 8 AD. 

It’s an epic poem in its finest form. And there are many translations out there. I don’t have a particular favorite myself, and I can’t find the version I read in high-school, but it’s worth reading and has influenced literature, art, music, and Western Civilization far more than most other works. Not on the same level as the Bible, but definitely up there close to Homer’s works (which Ovid borrowed heavily from!)

Editor’s note: We normally remove these from cross posts, but as Ian is a good friend, we are leaving this right here. If you enjoy my content, please consider picking up a book or tee from my store! The COVID-19 thing has shipping times slowed down, but the support really helps. 

Ian McLeod is an author and entrepreneur from the humid depths of Dixie. His books include the pop-satire DARWINVERSE series, and three books of poetry--BILGE PUMP OF A TURGID MIND, VALVE COVER GASKET OF THE ENGINE OF DESPAIR, and LAUNCH EVERYTHING; LET GOD SORT IT OUT

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