Metamorphoses

Metamorphoses

by

Ovid

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Metamorphoses: Book 14: The Apotheosis of Romulus Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After the death of the Sabine king, Romulus rules both Rome and Sabine. Mars then goes to Jupiter and recommends that, now that Rome is firmly established, he reward Romulus, Jupiter’s grandson, by making him a god. Jupiter agrees and causes a lightning storm to darken to sky. Mars takes his chariot to Romulus, who is dispensing justice among his people. Mars melts away Romulus’s mortal qualities, transforming him into a god.
At the beginning of the Metamorphoses, humans were mysterious creatures somehow created in the gods’ image. Now, near the end of the work, human heroes are more consistently being transformed into gods, suggesting that the gods are both the creators of human beings but also the perfection of the human being.
Themes
Gods and Humans Theme Icon
Romulus’s wife Hersilie weeps, believing her husband is lost. Juno sends Iris to tell Hersilie to cease lamenting because her husband is now a god. Hersilie humbles herself before Iris and begs to be brought to her husband. Iris leads Hersilie to Romulus’s new temple. There, a shooting star descends from the sky, catching Hersilie on fire and launching her into the sky. In this way, Romulus and Hersilie became the gods Quirinus and Hora.
Hersilie’s humility before Iris shows that she is worthy of being made a god like her husband Romulus. The gods only make gods those people who don’t consider themselves worthy enough to be among the gods. In this way, humility, which starts with lowering oneself, ironically leads to being raised up.
Themes
Gods and Humans Theme Icon