Author Topic: Ovid's Metamorphoses  (Read 51521 times)

PatH

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #80 on: January 20, 2016, 01:34:15 PM »

"Hand of God" Spotted by NASA Space Telescope

Metamorphosis. We all know what it is every time we look in the mirror. :) And we are all familiar with Midas Mufflers, and the Midas Touch. We eat cereal with no thought as to where the word originated, and we think of Pluto, Jupiter, Callisto,  Saturn, Mercury et al.  as only planets, but have you ever wondered where those names all came from, and what they really mean? We know what an echo is, but do we know who she was?

2000 years ago Ovid wrote an epic poem called The Metamorphoses, about change and transformation. He was the favorite poet of the Renaissance,  and influenced Chaucer, Shakespeare, Spenser, Marlowe, and Milton.

When did you last read him?  Here's your chance! Why not join us in a bold new experiment in the New Year with something old and something new, (for us) : Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book I?  It's available free, online,  and can be read in 1/2 hour. We'll compare translations and see which we think is best and enjoy talking about the issues it raises. Come join us!

(The Lombardo translation is highly recommended, but there are tons of them available online, free.   Here is a sampling, or please share with us another you've found which you like:)


---http://ovid.lib.virginia.edu/trans/Metamorph.htm#488381088---Translated by  A.S. Kline...(This one has its own built in clickable dictionary)...


---http://classics.mit.edu         /Ovid/metam.html...---Translated by Sir Samuel Garth, John Dryden, et al


----    http://www.theoi.com/Text/OvidMetamorphoses1.html----Translated by Brookes More




Family Tree of the Gods and Goddesses of Greece and Rome:


-------http://www.talesbeyondbelief.com/roman-gods/roman-gods-family-tree.htm

-------http://www.talesbeyondbelief.com/greek-gods-mythology/greek-gods-family-tree.htm



Week One: January 21-? Chaos and Order:

Bk I:1-20 The Primal Chaos
Bk I:21-31 Separation of the elements
Bk I:32-51 The earth and sea. The five zones.
Bk I:52-68 The four winds
Bk I:68-88 Humankind


What do you think about: :

1. How is this creation story like and unlike other creation stories?
2. The god that creates the world isn't named, and it's not clear whether mankind was created by a god or the forces of nature.  Why do you think it's said this way?
3. What is the shape of the newly created world?
4. Why did Ovid settle on "changes" as the theme of his poem?
5. What do you know about Ovid?  What else did he write?



Discussion Leaders: PatH and ginny

PatH

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #81 on: January 20, 2016, 01:34:51 PM »
The more the merrier, chase31.  You've got plenty of time to read the first bit, which is short, though filled with possibilities.

Welcome.

PatH

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #82 on: January 20, 2016, 01:41:28 PM »
I am like a lost sheep, or shall I say lost star, with mythology, but if you lead me I will follow......
That brings up something important.  All the mythical characters can be very intimidating if you try to meet them all at once.  But you don't have to.  They'll come on the stage gradually, so you can look each one up when he/she/it appears.

iwill

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #83 on: January 20, 2016, 04:29:10 PM »
Please count me in.  I'm one of Ginny's Latin 101 students.

PatH

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #84 on: January 20, 2016, 04:56:11 PM »
Great, IWILL.  Welcome.

PatH

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #85 on: January 21, 2016, 04:24:27 AM »
Welcome, everyone, at last it’s time to start.  There are all sorts of places we could begin.  One is our first reaction to the poem itself: What did you think of the first bit?  Do you like the poem?  Is it effective?

Ovid opens with a bang.  In four lines, he sets out his game plan, his theme, the approach he is going to take.

Where did he get his ideas?  How does he fit into his time?  What is he trying to achieve?

There are some questions in the heading, but they’re just starting points.  Anything you want to say is good.

Frybabe

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #86 on: January 21, 2016, 06:30:12 AM »
Good morning!

My first thoughts were that the creation story was very similar (perhaps not as detailed) as the Genesis story in the bible. Ovid got his ideas from earlier works which got me to asking just what were the earliest creation myths. Wikipedia has a list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_creation_myths As best as I can tell, the first written creation myth found in the region was the Sumerian, Enuma Elish, fragments of which you can read here. http://www.ancient-origins.net/human-origins-folklore/origins-human-beings-according-ancient-sumerian-texts-0065

Frybabe

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #87 on: January 21, 2016, 06:35:24 AM »
I love the pix at the top of the page, but maybe this one would fit better for the beginning of the story.

http://www.space.com/24225-hand-of-god-photo-nasa-telescope.html

PatH

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #88 on: January 21, 2016, 09:15:01 AM »
So in the Sumerian myth, the gods create mankind in order to get out of doing their own work.

I was trying for an astronomical picture that didn't look like anything, the better to represent chaos, not realizing that the hand of god was waiting for me.

DNix

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #89 on: January 21, 2016, 10:01:30 AM »
I am reading the Stanley Lombardo translation.   What a wonderful “singing” translation of the invocation to this work (lines 1-4):

My mind now turns to stories of bodies changed
Into new forms.  O Gods, inspire my beginnings
(For you changed them too) and spin a poem that extends
From the world’s first origins down to my own time.

Ovid immediately gives us the theme of his work:  bodies changed into new forms.  This is how the other great epic poets started their poems – Homer’s Iliad (anger) and Odyssey (the man), Vergil’s Aeneid (arms and the man).  I do not know much about Ovid, but he seems to have no hesitancy placing himself in the company of Homer and Vergil by writing in dactylic hexameter and stating his theme in the first line.  But he immediately signals he will outdo them by invoking, not merely the muse, but all the gods!  He is an audacious fellow; he will surpass Homer (who sang merely of a war and a man) and Vergil (who sang merely of a war and a city’s founding).  Ovid will spin a poem “that extends from the world’s first origins down to [his] own time.”  A bold start!

Mkaren557

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #90 on: January 21, 2016, 10:14:32 AM »
I read he was a famous writer of love poems before this.  I think that one of his goals was to prove himself the equal of Virgil, particularly, but also of Homer.  He certainly does not "beat around the bush" in defining the scope of his work in the first four lines. 

ginny

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #91 on: January 21, 2016, 10:48:35 AM »
Oh how exciting to see so many of you here and what a super start and wonderful observations.

I have wondered that a long time, Frybabe, the origin of these myths, timeline wise. How far back they go.

The photo is a copyright issue and I do see on the page the names of the people (something, /Miller) who are responsible for it. Let's see if we can use it with permission.

But was it a god who did Ovid's creation? What does YOUR translation say?


chase31

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #92 on: January 21, 2016, 11:22:47 AM »
I am reading More's version.  In #21 It says God (or kindly nature) ended the strife (chaos?).  I
n #32 it goes on to say he reduced all to the elements and on to creation.  I found it interesting he formed it into a globe.  So it was a common knowledge among the educated in ancient times that the earth was round and not flat.  I remember reading somewhere that the Greeks knew this and had calculated earths circumference very closely to what is now known.

ginny

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #93 on: January 21, 2016, 11:27:15 AM »
We sure picked a great time to talk about this, didn't we? There's a new planet in our solar system just discovered and it's a BIG one. The planets are all going to line up in a row for a month! Astronomers must be having a field day! It's been discovered that the old fairy tales in some cases are more than 4,000 years old. Nothing new under the sun?

I loved your take on the prologue,  DNix. Isn't it stunning? Such good points!  I do not know much about Ovid, but he seems to have no hesitancy placing himself in the company of Homer and Vergil by writing in dactylic hexameter and stating his theme in the first line.  But he immediately signals he will outdo them by invoking, not merely the muse, but all the gods! 

Super point. And you AND Karen immediately see him challenging the old Epic poetry tradition with something transformed.

But how IS it transformed? What IS the  traditional Epic poem of Homer and Vergil?

The Romans got their models from the Greeks. In terms of cosmogony (the branch of science that deals with the origin of the universe, especially the solar system. A theory regarding the origin of the universe, especially the solar system), which Howard was talking about way back there,  Ovid had plenty of predecessors as Frybabe has shown and in the Greeks themselves whom he would have known and  studied.

So exactly how is he different? How is HIS creation different and for what purpose do you think he wrote it? Do any of the Traditional Epics of Homer, or Vergil start with the creation of the world?

Karen said I read he was a famous writer of love poems before this.   Thank you for bringing that to the table, too.  We will be so enriched by what you all can find and bring.  He said it was a "carmen," (poem, song) and an "error" which resulted in his exile in 8 A.D. But nobody knows which poem or what error. They can only guess.

What do you all think of his skill in writing this first creation story? Did you also have the same reaction that DNix and Karen did?

Meanwhile for those of you who love research, it would be so interesting if we knew what his Greek predecessors had said about the creation of the world so we could compare it.

Here they are: What for instance did Homer, Hesiod, the Platonic tradition, Aristotle, the Stoics,  Leucippus, Democritus. Epicurus's Nature of the  World, and  Lucretius who wrote  50 years before Ovid say?  How are they different?

 What is atomistic cosmogony?  How was Virgil's version different?

If you find out about one, let us know, so we can compare them?

Meanwhile I am fascinated by your reaction to this first bit! And it's a real Pandora's Box of delights and discovery. What do the rest of you think?

Super start!



ginny

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #94 on: January 21, 2016, 11:31:47 AM »
Chase, what a wonderful point: I found it interesting he formed it into a globe.  So it was a common knowledge among the educated in ancient times that the earth was round and not flat.  I remember reading somewhere that the Greeks knew this and had calculated earths circumference very closely to what now know.

Now there is a point I completely missed!  When was the earth known to be round and why did that thinking change and when?

It's a good thing we've got PatH here because I honestly don't know one thing about scientific theory and I hope to learn a LOT.

And the More translation has a "God or kindly nature" doing the actual creation?  And he is spelling it with a capital G?

What  have the rest of you got in your translations?

Roxania

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #95 on: January 21, 2016, 11:44:14 AM »
When my Lombardo edition came, it turned out to be abridged, so I also grabbed another one--this one by Charles Martin.  DNix quoted the Lombardo translation above, but in the Martin one, it's a bit switched around:

My mind leads me to speak now of forms changed
into new bodies; O gods above, inspire
this undertaking (which you've changed as well)
and guide my poem in its epic sweep
from the world's beginning to the present day.

I picked up on the globe reference, too, and that was one of the things I wanted to ask about--it's on line 44 of my translation, and I was wondering whether the same word was used in all of them.  Ovid also seems to know about global climate zones, since he mentions TWO polar zones, two temperate zones and one hot equatorial zone.  So while in many ways it's similar to Genesis and other creation myths, he seems to have a more accurate notion of what the world is like. 

Out of curiosity, I looked up Ovid's dates--43 BCE to 17 CE.  I suppose he could have been familiar with Lucretius, whose dates were 99-44 BCE, and whose De rerum natura eerily prefigures a lot of modern scientific knowledge. The idea of a universe composed of atoms goes as far back as Democritus in the 5th century BCE--I think Leucippus was Democritus's mentor--and Lucretius certainly deals not only with atoms, but hypothesizes about genetics.  So the idea of "changes" can embrace everything from the geological changes of the creation, to evolution, to a naiad turning into a tree to get away from that well-known menace, Apollo.


BarbStAubrey

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #96 on: January 21, 2016, 12:20:09 PM »
Found you - hooray - never saw a link and knew the discussion was to start today - great - need to read a bit - looking forward to this...

Roxania

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #97 on: January 21, 2016, 12:33:42 PM »
I'm going to be all boring and pedantic here, so those of us who aren't doing Latin might want to skip this.

It bothered me that Lombardo said, "My mind now turns to stories of bodies changed/Into new forms" and Martin said, "My mind leads me to speak now of forms changed into new bodies."  And Ginny said, "Always parse!"  Somebody messed up.  Either forms were changing into bodies, and solidifying and becoming more concrete, as the world solidifies from chaos, or bodies were assuming new forms--like naiads turning into trees.  It could go either way.

What Ovid said was:

    In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas
corpora;

So if I've got this right, it's:

[My] mind brings [me] to speak about--fert animus dicere
mutatas formas-- forms changed
in nova corpora- into new bodies.

But since both "formas" and "corpora" are accusative plural, I suppose it could go either way.  And I like the sense of Lombardo's better, even though he may have cheated just a bit.

PatH

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #98 on: January 21, 2016, 12:45:15 PM »
It's a good thing we're reading so many different translations, because different ones emphasize, or keep in, or leave out different things.  I think it's a stunning touch that Ovid's work on transformations is itself a transformation, and that's left out of Kline, and more or less clear in the other ones.

Same with the round earth.  It's not as clear in some versions, and you have to read very carefully trying to figure out if he's really saying a globe, or just a circle.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #99 on: January 21, 2016, 12:46:10 PM »
Right off the bat as the saying goes it hit me that the author and Ovid's known world thought, order was preferable to chaos. How many centuries had to pass before Chaos was appreciated and math formulas were built to understand and utilize chaos....

"a greater order of nature, since he split off the earth from the sky, and the sea from the land, and divided the transparent heavens from the dense air" versus The Greek word "chaos", a neuter noun, means "yawning" or "gap", with no understanding about anything located on either side of this chasm. Ovid suggesting, "chaos: a raw confused mass, nothing but inert matter, badly combined discordant atoms of things, confused in the one place."

Just that thought alone there could be hours of conversation how that kind of thinking affected what we valued and the progression of philosophy, theology, rules of justice, law and order, to the running of a household. Right versus wrong, all based on if something smacks of order or of chaos and our lack of understanding chaos as a positive force and its role. Amazing...

Roxzania you posted while I was writing - your pointing out the changeability of 'forms changed - into new bodies' I am thinking you are also suggesting this could mean, 'new bodies - changed into forms' - if so that suggests that Chaos is equal to Order therefore as Chaos can organize to Order so too Order can organize to Chaos ??!!?? Not sure if the analogy works but that is how I am seeing it.


Roxania

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #100 on: January 21, 2016, 12:46:36 PM »
PatH: While I was digging around in the Latin, I looked.  He says "orbis," so globe it is.

BarbStAubrey:  Yes, I guess one could either be coming or going, as it were.  But there is also the element that, if the body takes a new form, it somehow retains its own essence--so the naiad is still herself, even if she happens to be a tree at the moment. 

This is hard. I feel like a medieval scholastic, worrying about angels and pinheads.

collierose

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #101 on: January 21, 2016, 12:56:05 PM »
I am reading A. S. Kline's version. 

Yes, it was Eratosthenes of Cyrene that did an experiment.  He was a scientist in Alexandria at the time. He measured the length of the shadow cast by a vertical stick during the solstice at noon, so he could figure out what angle the Sun made with the vertical direction at Alexandria.

http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2011/09/21/who-discovered-the-earth-is-ro/

Frybabe, I love the picture at Space.com.  That would be a great picture at the top for this.
How can you prove whether at this moment we are sleeping, and all our thoughts are a dream; or whether we are awake, and talking to one another in the waking state?  - Plato

PatH

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #102 on: January 21, 2016, 01:10:38 PM »
Roxania, it's not going to stay this hard.  This stage-setting is pretty dense, but after a bit the angels will be sorted out on their pinheads, and things will get more into straightforward narrative.  I appreciate your consulting the Latin.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #103 on: January 21, 2016, 01:13:51 PM »
What I am getting from what you Roxania shared and collaborated with by collierose, that angles or pinheads the concept that a god created order - later the many gods were encouraged to be one God - says that God not only stands for Order but the value we put on God is the value we put on Order and sometime in the 3rd or 4th Century when Satan was made a part of the Christian religion this Satan was a representation for Chaos.

Knowing today the value of Chaos that we have barely touched its benefits suggests to me much about human history and our fears. It never occurred to me that this separation was instilled in our thinking this early - yes, I saw the rise of Christianity affecting a duality of thinking that is profound but I am thinking now how we have avoided and how little I know of the relationships within Eastern thinking or even how I understood and interpreted Hinduism and other Eastern thought that have a Goddess of Chaos - seems to me there is a God of Chaos in the old Norse religion.

I am seeing a less judgmental view of the world from this new to me understanding of an early text. I can see how war is chaos that leads to a new order - if chaos and order are interchangeable than are each within each other or is it a straight line that one leads to the other which continues as the circle that Pat spoke of  - and then what is it that remains of war and peace within that circular system because as Roxania brings to our attention, "the body takes a new form, it somehow retains its own essence."

Roxania

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #104 on: January 21, 2016, 01:23:10 PM »
And there is the whole idea of chaos in art and aesthetics, especially in tragedy--that the tragedy is a violation of order, an introduction of chaos into society, so there is always an authority figure who comes in at the end to restore order--like Fortinbras at the end of Hamlet.

Loki is usually considered the Norse god of chaos and disorder and mischief.

In other news, fifty years after first reading him, I still can't whip up a lot of enthusiasm for Dryden:

Of bodies chang'd to various forms, I sing:
Ye Gods, from whom these miracles did spring,
Inspire my numbers with coelestial heat;
'Till I my long laborious work compleat:
And add perpetual tenour to my rhimes,
Deduc'd from Nature's birth, to Caesar's times.

PatH, I wish we had buttons under every post to indicate "like" or "agree," as they have in the wonderful knitting website, Ravelry.

PatH

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #105 on: January 21, 2016, 01:34:35 PM »
He adds an elaborate style from his day, not particularly like the original, and in the process fuzzes the meaning and leaves things out.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #106 on: January 21, 2016, 01:51:36 PM »
Thanks - this dichotomy between chaos and order has me by the tail - I had not associated the figures in art that bring about 'and they lived happily ever after' as the 'god' ;) of our desire, order - I'm still caught up in the war and peace theme -

Thinking or just the concept of cruelty that we associate with warlike behavior - is cruelty a form of chaos - is that why we associate cruelty with anger and the behaviors we prefer to see removed - is it really the chaos that someone acting  cruelly represents - is it our fear of not knowing how to respond logically to someone who behaves with cruelty - so many questions - and then how often we see folks that believe in order they utilize fear and cruelty and shame and, and, and, to restore order - the gun is a symbol for creating with chaos the desired order - oh my and that leads to the word power - power in order but also power in chaos - back to a single focus away from duality - the ultimate power figure for many of us is God - is this adding up that God is the control button for both order and chaos -

So much to re-read and now maybe I will read a bit more about Hinduism with new eyes although, I think I may have a better chance of entering this line of thinking with a re-read of what I have in my library relating to Heidentum, the old German practices before Christianity that share similar practices and beliefs to Hedendom in Scandinavia. It certainly puts into focus the concept of reading the writings of Native American tribal authors who are faithful to their so called wheel of time so that a story can contain generations of the deceased as well and children not yet born as if they are all currently present in the story.   

Woohw what a ride and this is only the first few stanzas of the poem. 

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #107 on: January 21, 2016, 02:42:21 PM »
Ok help - those of you who are reading the translation from another author please can you share if there is another reading for this line - it is confusing me...

" Either the creator god, source of a better world, seeded it from the divine, or the newborn earth just drawn from the highest heavens still contained fragments related to the skies, so that Prometheus, blending them with streams of rain, moulded them into an image of the all-controlling gods"

I think it is saying the creator seeded the world from the divine

or

the earth that would be part of the world was from the highest heavens which I am assuming he means the heavens where the gods or a god abides - and this earth which I am assuming means the soil contains fragments related to the skies - which for me makes sense if the earth is as a result of the chaos that formed the universe than particles of the matter from the beginning would be related to the particles of matter created at the same time and still are in what we call the skies.

Prometheus, who is only a second order of the Greek gods blends the earth, containing the fragments from the formation of the universe, with rain - with Zeus since, Zeus is lord of the sky, and the rain - does that mean the gods are within these elements so that Prometheus blends Zeus with Gaea, mother earth, universal mother who gave birth to both the first race of gods  and the first humans - I am not clear on how these gods represent or are within these aspects of our universe.

It sounds to me like he is not saying there are two separate stories but rather, the story is the same except the second version is more drawn out explaining the process using the power of gods to further understand the steps in the process.

Or is there something completely different being explained that the other translations may shed some light.

Halcyon

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #108 on: January 21, 2016, 02:46:41 PM »
My thoughts are all over the place, though not very organized.  I am reading Lombardo. I just love this line "Then the god who had sorted out this cosmic heap, whoever it was...." (lines 32,33)  Polytheism, monotheism, Greek and Roman philosophers, mathematicians, astronomers...Ovid was exposed to it all.  Perhaps he simply didn't know or realized that theories were ever changing and no one would ever know for sure.

According to Professor of Astronomy Alex Filippenko/UC Berkeley the universe is approximately 13.7 billion years old.  For me that's hard to fathom.  Are there other universes?  Do we keep destroying ourselves and starting over?  How to explain the pyramids and Stonehenge?  Are extraterrestrials involved? 

And then there is Stephen Hawking, the big bang theory and the ultimate question, can something be made out of nothing?  Interesting Hawking quote 'The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but that they reflect a certain underlying order, which may or may not be divinely inspired."

Roxania wrote "But since both "formas" and "corpora" are accusative plural, I suppose it could go either way."
I looked up both words in Cassel's Latin Dictionary and think, if broadly interpreted, they can be interchanged.  Maybe Ginny knows.

Barb said "The Greek word "chaos", a neuter noun, means "yawning" or "gap", with no understanding about anything located on either side of this chasm."  Several Native American creation stories tell of a young woman falling or being pushed into a black hole, perhaps chaos. http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/TheCreationStory-Iroquois.html

Fascinating.

chase31

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #109 on: January 21, 2016, 03:16:41 PM »
Some time ago we bought a Great Courses lecture on Chaos.  The physics professor also said that the Greek meaning of chaos is not disorder but chasm or the abyss.  The course went into fractals quite heavily.  He went into the origin of "does a butterfly flapping it's wings effect the weather in China?".  He explained this came from a professor of meteorology at MIT.  And that weather will develop patterns.

It seems that in the entire Chaos Theory patterns will emerge in everything if given enough time and numbers.  Everything from insect populations, physical features on maps, heart rhythms, to the numbers of scales on pineapples.  It seems to be endless.

I think I am rambling here,LOL.

Frybabe

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #110 on: January 21, 2016, 03:42:20 PM »
Quote
What is atomistic cosmogony? 
Ginny

Atomistic theory appears to have developed in the 4th century BC in India by the Jains, and appeared in the 5th century BC in Greece. Atomists theorized that there were only two fundamental principles: atoms and void.

I had always thought Aristotle more or less came up with the idea of atoms. But no, big surprise to me, he was opposed to the idea.Aristotle didn't believe in the possiblility of a void. He followed the elemental route, earth, wind, fire, and water. From Ovid's description, Prometheus must have been an elemental.

Cosmogony is theoritical model that is concerned with how something (can apply to other things besides the universe) comes into existance, the source of something's origins. This is a term I had not before run across. It is not to be confused with cosmology (the study of the state of the universe now).

So, I suppose that means that atomistic cosmogony is a theory that the original source of all things comes from atoms and voids. But is that outdated now that we can smash atoms and come up with even tinier bits, like quarks, neutrinos, bosons, and all the other funny little quantum creatures we hear about today?

Not at all Chase31. You never know what will come out of ones' musings and ramblings. This all just goes to show that we are still struggling with these questions of origin today. I didn't know the Greek meaning of chaos before today.

JoanK

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #111 on: January 21, 2016, 03:43:57 PM »
Here is part of the oldest (Sumarian) theory of Creation from the link posted by FRYBABE above:

"When in the height heaven was not named,
And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name,
And the primeval Apsu, who begat them,
And chaos, Tiamut, the mother of them both
Their waters were mingled together,
And no field was formed, no marsh was to be seen;
When of the gods none had been called into being,
And none bore a name, and no destinies were ordained;
Then were created the gods in the midst of heaven,
Lahmu and Lahamu were called into being..."

I love the idea that the gods had to be created first.

I'm also fascinated by the classification of creation myths, given in the same site. Greek cosmological myths are listed twice: once in creation from chaos, and once in creation by gods.

 

Halcyon

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #112 on: January 21, 2016, 03:50:20 PM »
JoanK, But who created Lahmu and Lahamu?  It could go on and on...like looking at an image of a person holding on to the same image you are looking at.

JoanK

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #113 on: January 21, 2016, 03:56:45 PM »
I noticed that!  :'( 

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #114 on: January 21, 2016, 04:25:55 PM »
JoanK are these two separate gods doing the same job of bringing into existence both heaven and earth?

And the primeval Apsu, who begat them,
And chaos, Tiamut, the mother of them both

It sounds like Apsu begat heaven and earth but Tiamut as Chaos mothers both - does that mean to beget does not mean you are the mother - that to mother is one process that excludes begetting while begetting does not automatically assume mothering????

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #115 on: January 21, 2016, 04:26:33 PM »
Only just went back and saw this from Ginny - Here they are: What for instance did Homer, Hesiod, the Platonic tradition, Aristotle, the Stoics, Leucippus, Democritus. Epicurus's Nature of the  World, and Lucretius who wrote 50 years before Ovid say?

Fhew that is 9 possibilities -

Found for Aristotle - a synopsis that is used to contradict for a one God viewpoint from the arguments of Kant and Cousin. I have isolated out the statements that offer the views by Aristotle

Aristotle was a monotheist, but he did not understand the dependence of the universe upon the free-will of its Creator and advocated eternal motion.
  • Before a body can be changed, it must exist. But it cannot come into existence except in virtue of a change, and this change supposes another change, and so on to infinity in the past. Consequently matter has been changing from eternity.
  • Where time is, motion is. But time had no beginning; for every moment of time is the end of past and the beginning of future time. Consequently there was no first moment. Movement is not, he states, the result of the influence of one body on another
  • The origin of all motion is ultimately due to God, the first absolutely unchangeable cause. But the first absolutely unchangeable cause cannot produce motion except from eternity to eternity: for otherwise He would undergo change Himself. It is therefore impossible that motion if existent should ever have had a commencement.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #116 on: January 21, 2016, 04:47:58 PM »
Hesiod gives all the credit to a progression of gods. Although movement is not mentioned for Hesiod it is an orderly birth progression of gods who make up the universe.

First Chaos came to be. Chaos meaning the lack of order - or, in other words - nothing was there yet.

Next, came Gaia (Earth), and with Earth came all the mountains and valleys and stuff. No mention what caused this sudden appearance.

Next came Tartarus, a humungous pit inside Earth.

The next thing "created" is Eros, the personification of love. In Classical myth, Eros is the son of Aphrodite -

Next comes Erebus,the (male) personification of the darkness of the Underworld.
Then Nyx, the (female) personification of night.
Nyx and Erebus find themselves (mostly) alone in the dark together . . . and well . . . then there started a whole new era of Creation. Their first children were Aether (personification of the Upper Air, think atmosphere) and Hemera (the personification of day).

Then Gaia managed to give birth to Pontus (the Sea) and Uranus (not the planet - it means, essentially, Heaven) to cover her completely.

Then Gaia and Uranus beget the first real Gods. The Titans, 12 or 14 of them, and they all married to each other and had lots of kids, and Cronos and Rhea (the youngest boy and girl) beget the Olympian Gods, Zeus, Hera and Hades.

I think this is the viewpoint that troubles my understanding if the gods are as emblems or champions of or are the gods part of, with the name if the god interchangeable, the same, not similar, of that which the god is credited with bringing into existence.

Mkaren557

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #117 on: January 21, 2016, 05:20:55 PM »
Whew.  I am experiencing CHAOS right now.  That is a lot to absorb without a background in mythology or philosophy.  But I am sitting back for the moment and listening, thinking, and learning. 

ginny

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #118 on: January 21, 2016, 10:12:02 PM »
:)  Wow! I'd say that was quite a beginning and I've loved every single point..  Each voice adds SO much to the whole. Thank you all for sharing your marvelous ideas!

Welcome, Barbara. I find your contemplation of the nature of Chaos very on point. What chaos IS and/or what it may have symbolized might be important (or might not) to our own understanding of the story unfolding.  We like answers neatly tied up. We may not get them with Ovid. He's been analyzed right down to the number of Spondees and Dactyls  he used, by scholars for 2000 years and nobody agrees on what  he's doing and/or  why he's doing it. It will be for you each  to decide.  For yourselves.  I am loving the comments made here.

Ovid would have been influenced by Greek thought. I enjoyed that list Barbara did of some of the Greek thought about the origin of the universe. How complicated this is! It's felt that, speaking loosely, the Greek  natural philosophers had three main models for their ideas of the birth of the cosmos: some represented it as a living organism, some as an artifact created by a divine being, and others in terms of a political or social entity.   The universe seemed to be a product of design, and for most Greek thinkers it was designed for man's benefit.


Here's a very telling quote by an Ovid scholar:

Ovid knew well  the atomistic  cosmogony of Virgil, but he takes a different approach. He also knew the poetry of Lucretius and, before him, of Homer and Hesiod,  and was familiar with the beliefs of both the Epicurean and the Stoic philosophical  schools. What he seems to have done is to devise a version that would touch on as many forms of tradition as possible. Thus, he opens with the Homeric triad of sea, earth, and sky and then casts back to the original chaos, combining the idea of Hesoidic void with Lucretian space--and in it a raw mass or heap of conflicting seeds of things."----
Elaine Fantham


That's a lot for 88  lines. :)  Is Ovid's description of the creation of the universe one you could espouse in 2016? Why or why not?

Why would making order out of chaos be important to Ovid one wonders?

And why the heroic Epic poem form? A traditional  heroic Epic, besides being written in Dactylic Hexameter ( the meter or rhythm of this  poem) was unified by a single hero or people whose adventures it followed. Like DNix said, Vergil and Aeneas. Homer and Odysseus or Ulysses in the Odyssey. Homer and Achilles in the Iliad.

Where's our hero here?

More...

ginny

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Re: Ovid's Metamorphoses Proposed for January 21
« Reply #119 on: January 21, 2016, 10:50:45 PM »
Roxania, " When my Lombardo edition came, it turned out to be abridged."  Really? I have the Lombardo and have anxiously scanned it for this information. Where do you see it?

I'm glad you got the Martin, I've not heard of him, I love to see the variations in the translators! Does anybody have Fagles?

Who else have you found? I am interested in that Dryden.  It's pentameter but it seems to rhyme in couplets. I wonder if he considered the Metamorphoses  an Elegaic poem in couplets. Is there anything about his translation which might give us a clue? An Introduction? A prologue?


Lucretius, whose dates were 99-44 BCE, and whose De rerum natura eerily prefigures a lot of modern scientific knowledge. The idea of a universe composed of atoms goes as far back as Democritus in the 5th century BCE--I think Leucippus was Democritus's mentor--and Lucretius certainly deals not only with atoms, but hypothesizes about genetics.  So the idea of "changes" can embrace everything from the geological changes of the creation, to evolution, to a naiad turning into a tree to get away from that well-known menace, Apollo.

Is that not amazing? Did you all know that? ATOMS!

    In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas
corpora;

So if I've got this right, it's:

[My] mind brings [me] to speak about--fert animus dicere
mutatas formas-- forms changed
in nova corpora- into new bodies.

But since both "formas" and "corpora" are accusative plural, I suppose it could go either way.  And I like the sense of Lombardo's better, even though he may have cheated just a bit.


That's very fine work! Literally it's "forms changed into new bodies." Many translators, however, have translated it as "bodies changed to different forms." Ovid seems to be more interested in forms changing into  bodies than the reverse however.  Metamorphosis has been around a long time. Originally it helped people to grasp and come to terms with the universe they inhabited.  Like claiming that human spirits resided in trees, birds, animals and so on. Was this so strange?

Today do we not personify non human things? Have you ever patted the dashboard of the car when it starts? hahahaa I bet you can think of a million other examples. 

It's a good thing we're reading so many different translations, because different ones emphasize, or keep in, or leave out different things.  I think it's a stunning touch that Ovid's work on transformations is itself a transformation, and that's left out of Kline, and more or less clear in the other ones.

Wonderful point, PatH!  And it might be transforming us, too. Karen says she already is experiencing chaos!  hahah Loved that.

Right off the bat as the saying goes it hit me that the author and Ovid's known world thought, order was preferable to chaos

What do we know of Ovid's background which would suggest why?

. Right versus wrong, all based on if something smacks of order or of chaos and our lack of understanding chaos as a positive force and its role. Amazing...


It is, and so is this discussion.

Yes, it was Eratosthenes of Cyrene that did an experiment.  He was a scientist in Alexandria at the time. He measured the length of the shadow cast by a vertical stick during the solstice at noon, so he could figure out what angle the Sun made with the vertical direction at Alexandria.

Thank you  Collierose and Chase. I know absolutely nothing of these things and am astounded!

" Either the creator god, source of a better world, seeded it from the divine, or the newborn earth just drawn from the highest heavens still contained fragments related to the skies, so that Prometheus, blending them with streams of rain, moulded them into an image of the all-controlling gods"

What does this say? Who created man, Prometheus or the Creator? And what or who is Prometheus?

Then the god who had sorted out this cosmic heap, whoever it was...." (lines 32,33)  Polytheism, monotheism, Greek and Roman philosophers, mathematicians, astronomers...Ovid was exposed to it all

Super point!

It seems that in the entire Chaos Theory patterns will emerge in everything if given enough time and numbers.  Everything from insect populations, physical features on maps, heart rhythms, to the numbers of scales on pineapples.  It seems to be endless.

Do you think that Ovid is espousing Chaos Theory from what you have read so far? Remember there ARE no "right" answers, just what you think.

Cosmogony is theoretical model that is concerned with how something (can apply to other things besides the universe) comes into existence, the source of something's origins. This is a term I had not before run across. It is not to be confused with cosmology (the study of the state of the universe now).

Me either, Frybabe. I've already learned a lot. It's a good day when you can learn something new.  Oh, and we've got your Hand of God in the heading! Thanks for suggesting it!

Halcyon, It could go on and on...like looking at an image of a person holding on to the same image you are looking at. Gee that's good.  Does that pertain to Ovid's creation story here, too?

Fascinating.  Isn't it? What surprises you all the most so far?

Joan K,  thank you for quoting that.  I thought the same thing as Halcyon: who created them?  I wonder if the gods are created first what that  means to the society they rule? Will they, in that culture, take a leading role?  I truly had no idea there were so MANY different creation  stories.

So here we are at the end of the first day, what about the poem surprised YOU the most so far? OR, if nothing surprised you, what's your opinion of what you've read so far?  Did any particular line or description strike you?