Metamorphoses

Metamorphoses

by

Ovid

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Metamorphoses: Book 10: Orpheus’ Song: The Cerastae and Propoetides Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Orpheus sings of the Cerastae and the Propoetides—two groups that everyone despises. The Cerastae were a group of men who sacrificed human victims on their altar to Jupiter. This sacrifice of humans upset Venus, the goddess of life. She decided to punish the Cerastae family by transforming them into bulls.
The Cerastae sacrificed human beings on Jupiter’s altar, showing how intense reverence for a god can lead a person to crime. These crimes of worship are then punished by the gods.
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Worse than the Cerastae’s insult, the Propoetides—a group of women—insulted Venus by asserting that she wasn’t a goddess. To punish them, Venus subjected them to lives of prostitution. Slowly, the Propoetides lost all shame and hardened into granite.
Compared to the Cerastae who sacrificed human beings, the Propoetides committed a worse sin by rejecting Venus. In this way, the gods consider the actions that insult them personally as the worst offenses.
Themes
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