Metamorphoses

Metamorphoses

by

Ovid

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Metamorphoses: Book 7: The Birth of the Myrmidons Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Finally, King Aeacus protests to Jupiter, asking him to assist the son he had with Aegina (King Aeacus). Jove hears King Aeacus and gives a sign in the form of a lightning bolt. King Aeacus then notices a nearby oak tree crawling with lines of ants gathering grain. King Aeacus asks Jove to give him as many citizens as there are ants on the oak tree. At his prayer, the earth trembles. Aeacus kisses the ground in fear.
Now that Aegina’s population has been decimated by Juno’s plague, the city is in need of a new population. In past stories, the human race has grown out of metamorphoses. Aeacus notices the populous ants and wishes for a citizenry that large, hinting that the ants could be a starting place for his new population.   
Themes
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That night, King Aeacus dreams that thousands of crawling ants grow and transform into a population of humans. When he wakes up, he hears the sound of a crowd outside. Then Telamon opens the door and leads his father out to show him a whole new citizenry, greeting him as king. King Aeacus gives his new people—whom he calls Myrmidons—Aegina’s abandoned homes.
King Aeacus dreams that the ants he saw transformed into thousands of new citizens, suggesting that the population that greets him the following morning were indeed birthed from ants. However, the fact that he does not actually witness this transformation makes the occurrence of metamorphosis in these later years seem more mythological than it was at the world’s beginning.
Themes
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