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Metamorphoses: Book 5: Calliope’s Song: Triptolemus and Lyncus Summary & Analysis

After she hears Arethusa’s story, Ceres takes her chariot to Athens. There, she gives her chariot to a man named Triptolemus with instructions to till the soil and spread seeds in the barren fields. Triptolemus takes Ceres’s chariot over Europe and Asia, spreading seeds. In one city, a barbarian king named Lyncus is jealous that Triptolemus has charge of Ceres’s chariot. He attempts to stab Triptolemus in his sleep that night, but Ceres turns him into a lynx. Triptolemus resumes his voyage to restore fertility to the land.
Ceres chooses a human man to help her fertilize the land after the barren spell she caused. This favoring of a mortal creates jealousy that almost leads to a tragic outcome. Competition of all kinds—between Jupiter and Juno, between the gods, between humans and the gods, and between humans for the gods’ attention—stirs up the world more than anything else.
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