Metamorphoses

Metamorphoses

by

Ovid

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Metamorphoses: Book 6: The Lycian Peasants Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After hearing what happened to Niobe, everyone fears and worships Latona. Stories resurface of other times when Latona made her power known. For example: one day, a boy went to fetch cattle with the help of a guide from a certain pool. On the way, they passed an old altar smoking with fires from a sacrifice. The boy’s guide whispered a prayer. The boy asked the guide what local god the altar belonged to. The guide said that the altar didn’t belong to a local god but to the goddess Latona who was banished by Queen Juno and forced to give birth to Apollo and Diana in exile.
Among the order of the gods, Latona is one that has often been forgotten. She was originally one of Jupiter’s mistresses and therefore incurred Juno’s wrath. Because she lived in exile, many people have forgotten to worship her. Latona’s need for revenge seems to boil over with the story of Niobe, giving Latona a chance to prove her existence and demand the reverence she is owed.
Themes
Gods and Humans Theme Icon
The guide said Latona went to Lycia after giving birth to Apollo and Diana. Exhausted, Latona knelt to drink from a lake. Some nearby men collecting reeds told her to stop drinking from the lake. Latona pleaded with the men, begging them to have mercy on her and her babies’ thirst. The men still refused and swirled the water to make it too muddy to drink. Latona called on the heavens to transform the men into frogs. To this day, they jump in and out of muddy lakes.
The people who act cruelly to the gods, it seems, are the people who act cruelly in general. The men who muddy the water believe that they are muddying the water of an innocent human girl, and don’t realize they are muddying the water of a goddess. In this way, a person who does not act kindly in general can end up unknowingly offending gods and being punished.
Themes
Gods and Humans Theme Icon