Metamorphoses

Metamorphoses

by

Ovid

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Jupiter (Jove)

Jupiter—or Jove—is Saturn’s son and the head of all the gods. His distinctive feature and weapon is the lightning bolt, which he uses either to kill people or signify his presence. Although Jupiter is… read analysis of Jupiter (Jove)

Deucalion

Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha are the only two survivors after the gods flood the Earth to rid it of corruption. Deucalion and his wife pray to the goddess of prophecy, and she tells them… read analysis of Deucalion

Daphne

Daphne is the beautiful daughter of a river god. When Cupid intervenes, Apollo falls madly in love with Daphne while she rejects love and men. Apollo chases Daphne through the woods. Daphne prays to her… read analysis of Daphne

Juno

Juno is a goddess and Jupiter’s wife. Most of her actions throughout the Metamorphoses are in response to Jupiter’s many acts of infidelity. Juno is always jealous of Jupiter’s love interests, and afraid that… read analysis of Juno

Io

Io is the daughter of a river nymph. Jupiter falls in love with her, and one day overtakes her in the woods and rapes her. Jupiter transforms Io into a white cow so that she… read analysis of Io
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Phaëthon

Phaëthon is the son of the sun god, Phoebus. Doubtful that Phoebus is really his father, Phaëthon travels to the sun god’s palace for proof. After determining that Phoebus is his father, Phaëthon asks… read analysis of Phaëthon

Callisto

Callisto is a virgin huntress who follows the goddess Diana. One day, Jupiter rapes and impregnates her. Callisto’s visible pregnancy reveals to Diana that she is no longer a virgin, so Diana banishes her… read analysis of Callisto

Aglauros

Aglauros is the sister of Minerva and Herse. She is disobedient and selfish, once looking into a basket that the goddess Pallas Athena forbade her to look inside. Later, Aglauros tries to demand gold… read analysis of Aglauros

Cadmus

Cadmus is Europa’s sister. His father sends him to search for Europa and tells him not to return until he finds her. Cadmus looks everywhere, and at last asks Phoebus where he should go… read analysis of Cadmus

Narcissus

Narcissus is a boy whom Teiresiasprophesies will live a long life if he never “knows himself.” Narcissus grows up to be desired by many girls. However, he rejects them all, including Echo. One… read analysis of Narcissus

Echo

Echo is a nymph who used to distract Juno while Jupiter was being unfaithful to her. Juno discovered this and cursed Echo to only repeat the words that another person says to her. When Narcissusread analysis of Echo

Pentheus

Pentheus is aman who scoffs at the gods and the people who worship them. He believes that the people who came from the dragon’s teeth that Cadmus sowed should be too brave to worship Bacchusread analysis of Pentheus

Bacchus

Bacchus is the son of Jupiter and Semele who was born from Jupiter’s thigh. He becomes a new god worshipped throughout Greece with wild dances and drunken festivals in which people wear animal skins and… read analysis of Bacchus

Pyramus

Pyramus is a teenage character in a story that one of daughters of Minyas tells while she and her sisters are weaving and abstaining from the festival for Bacchus. Pyramus falls in love with… read analysis of Pyramus

Thisbe

Thisbe is the teenage character in the love story of Pyramus and Thisbe told by one of the daughters of Minyas. When Thisbe returns to the mulberry tree after hiding from the lion and finds… read analysis of Thisbe

Clytië

Clytië was Phoebus’s lover before he fell in love with Leucothoë. She is furious that Phoebus has found a new love interest, and tells Leucothoë’s father about his daughter’s affair, leading him to… read analysis of Clytië

Salmacis

Salmacis is a nymph who rejects Diana’s lifestyle and likes to show off her nakedness. She falls in love with Hermaphroditus when he comes to bathe in her pool and grabs onto him while… read analysis of Salmacis

Ino

Ino is Semele’s sister and was one of Bacchus’s caregivers when he was young. Juno—who is vengeful towards all of Semele’s relatives—sends a demon to Ino and her husband Athamas to poison… read analysis of Ino

Perseus

Perseus is one of Jupiter’s sons. He is banished from his city by his grandfather, who doesn’t believe he is the son of the god. Perseus flies around on winged sandals, holding the Medusaread analysis of Perseus

Medusa

Medusa is a cursed woman with snakes for hair. She used to be a beautiful woman until Neptune raped her and Minerva punished the act by cursing Medusa and giving her the power to turn… read analysis of Medusa

Ceres

Ceres is the goddess of agriculture and plenty. Jealous that more people worship Ceres than Venus, Venus gets her vengeance by arranging for Pluto to kidnap Ceres’s daughter Proserpina. Ceres is ultimately forced to… read analysis of Ceres

Proserpina

Proserpina is Ceres’s daughter and Pluto’s love interest. After being struck with Cupid’s arrow, Pluto falls in love with Proserpina, kidnaps her, and takes her to Hades. There, Proserpina becomes the Queen… read analysis of Proserpina

Arachne

Arachne is a woman who boasts that she is better at weaving than Minerva, goddess of weaving. One day, she challenges a disguised Minerva to a weaving contest. Arachne weaves the superior tapestry, depicting… read analysis of Arachne

Niobe

Niobe is a wealthy and powerful queen with many beautiful children. She refuses to worship the goddess Latona because she believes that no one—not even a god—is more blessed than she is. She arrogantly claims… read analysis of Niobe

Tereus

Tereus is a barbarian king who marries Procne—the daughter of an Athenian king who seeks to make peace with the barbarians. After marrying Procne, Tereus returns to Athens to retrieve Procne’s sister Philomelaread analysis of Tereus

Procne

Procne is Tereus’s wife and Philomela’s sister. When Procne hears that her husband has raped her sister, she furiously seeks revenge against him. After debating as to how to seek her revenge, she… read analysis of Procne

Philomela

Philomela is Procne’s sister. When Procne’s husband Tereus deceives her and rapes her, she is furious and distressed. She feels that Tereus has forced her to become her sister’s rival. When Tereus cuts out… read analysis of Philomela

Medea

Medea—the daughter of a king who hopes to prevent Jason and his army of Argonauts from taking a golden ram—is a girl with magical powers. Medea falls in love with Jason and decides to help… read analysis of Medea

Jason

Jason is the leader of the Argonauts—a Greek army. He takes his army to a kingdom on a mission to capture a golden ram. Jason participates in many dangerous tasks in order to win the… read analysis of Jason

Theseus

Theseus is Aegeus’s son. When Theseus returns to Athens after performing several heroic deeds, Medea attempts to kill him but Aegeus saves him. Theseus is then captured by Minos when Minos captures Athens. Minos… read analysis of Theseus

Aeacus

Aeacus is the king of Aegina and an ally of Athens. When king Minos asks Aeacus to help him in his war against Athens, Aeacus refuses. Not only is he Athens’s ally, but Aegina has… read analysis of Aeacus

Minos

King Minos is Athens’s enemy.When Minosattacks a city named Alcathoe, Scylla—the daughter of Alcothoe’s king—falls in love with him. She propositions Minos with the keys for her city’s gates as long as he will… read analysis of Minos

Cephalus

Cephalus is a messenger from Athens who travels to Aegina to ask for their support in Athens’s war against king Minos. Cephalus hears king Aeacus’s story of Aegina’s plague, and shows Aeacus’s sons the… read analysis of Cephalus

Procris

Procris is Cephalus’s wife. Over the course of their marriage, Procris gifts Cephalus a fast-running hunting dog and a magic spear that always meets its target. Procris dies tragically after a miscommunication in which… read analysis of Procris

Scylla

Scylla is the daughter of the king of Alcathoe. When Alcathoe is attacked by Minos, Scylla falls in love with him. She battles internally as to whether she should betray her father and her… read analysis of Scylla

Daedaulus

Daedaulus is an Athenian craftsman who builds the labyrinth in Crete in which Minos stashes the Minotaur. After building the labyrinth, Daedaulus fashions sets of wings for himself and his son Icarus to fly back… read analysis of Daedaulus

Meleager

Meleager is a soldier who leads the charge to kill a ferocious bull that Diana sets loose in Calydon, angry that no one there is worshipping her. Meleager kills the boar, and then angers his… read analysis of Meleager

Althaea

Althaea is Meleager’s mother. After Meleager kills her brothers, she engages in a long internal debate as to where her true allegiance lies—with her son, or with her brothers. She at last decides to… read analysis of Althaea

Achelous

Achelous is a river god. He hosts Theseus in his house when Theseus is returning to Athens and entertains him with many stories, including the story of how he lost some of his power to… read analysis of Achelous

Philemon

Philemon and his wife Baucis are characters in a story that one of Theseus’s companions tells another companion who scoffs at the gods. Philemon and Baucis are poor peasants, but one day they take in… read analysis of Philemon

Erysichthon

Erysichthon is a character in a story Achelous tells Theseus as an example of what happens to those who scorn the gods. Erysichthon angers Ceres by chopping down her sacred forest, so she sets the… read analysis of Erysichthon

Hercules

Hercules is Jupiter and Alcmena’s son. He becomes famous for many deeds, but Juno detests him because he is her husband’s bastard son. In her fury, Juno tells Hercules’s wife Deianira that Hercules is… read analysis of Hercules

Deianira

Deianira is Hercules’s wife. She was also the love interest of both Achelous and Nessus. When Hercules defeats Nessus, Nessus gives Deianira a cursed shirt that he says will excite Hercules’s passion. Later… read analysis of Deianira

Byblis

Byblis is Caunus’s sister. As she grows up, she starts to desire her brother. She berates herself for her incestuous passion and tries to talk herself out of pursuing it. However, her passion becomes… read analysis of Byblis

Iphis

Iphis is a baby who is born a girl but raised as a boy. When Iphis’s mother was pregnant with her, her father had threatened to kill the baby if it was a girl. With… read analysis of Iphis

Orpheus

Orpheus is Eurydice’s husband. When Eurydice dies directly after the wedding from a snakebite, Orpheus follows her to Hades and negotiates with Pluto for her release. However, when the two are climbing out of… read analysis of Orpheus

Pygmalion

Pygmalion is a sculptor who hates lust and the lasciviousness of women. While leading a single life, he sculpts a statue of a beautiful woman and falls in love with it. He treats the statue… read analysis of Pygmalion

Myrrha

Myrrha is a character in one of Orpheus’s songs who falls in love with her father. Unable to control her incestuous passion, Myrrha decides to hang herself. Before she can, her nurse discovers her… read analysis of Myrrha

Atalanta

Atalanta is a beautiful girl who can run faster than any man. Many men desire her, but she tells them that they can only be with her if they beat her in a running race… read analysis of Atalanta

Midas

Midas is a king who was trained in Bacchic rites. When Midas welcomes Bacchus into his palace, Bacchus grants him a wish, and Midas wishes for everything he touches to turn to gold. He soon… read analysis of Midas

Peleus

Peleus is Jupiter’s grandson and Achilles’s father. He helps Apollo and Neptune take Troy from Laomedon. Shortly before this, he marries Thetis. Although Thetis resists him by changing her form, he… read analysis of Peleus

Ceyx

Ceyx is a king who hosts Peleus when Peleus flees Troy. Ceyx witnesses his brother Daedalion be transformed into a bird and a wolf transformed into marble. Disturbed by these occurrences, Ceyx travels to Apolloread analysis of Ceyx

Alcyone

Alcyone is Ceyx’s wife. She is extremely devoted to her husband and suffers when he leaves her to visit Apollo’s temple. She prays every day for his return, not knowing that he has… read analysis of Alcyone

Aesacus

Although a descendent of Troy’s founders and Hector’s brother, Aesacus grows up in the country. When he chases a nymph he desires and she is fatally bitten by a poisonous snake, he jumps off… read analysis of Aesacus

Caenis

Caenis is a girl who was once raped by Neptune. Afterwards, Caenis demands that Neptune transform her into a boy so she’ll never be raped again. Caenis the man fights valiantly against the Centaurs in… read analysis of Caenis

Hecuba

Hecuba is Hector’s wife. When she is kidnapped by Ulysses after Troy loses the war, Hecuba smuggles Hector’s ashes with her. After watching her daughter Polyxena be sacrificed and learning that her son has… read analysis of Hecuba

Aeneas

Aeneas is Venus’s son and a survivor of Troy who flees with several companions. He wanders around by ship, escaping many dangers, until he finally takes over some small Italian cities led by Turnus… read analysis of Aeneas

The Cyclops

The Cyclops is a giant creature with one eye. He falls in love with Galatea and tries to seduce her by trimming his beard and gathering animals for her. Despite the Cyclops’ professions of love… read analysis of The Cyclops

Glaucus

Glaucus is a sea nymph who used to be a fisherman. One day while fishing, he laid his fish out on a magical pasture, and they started jumping back into the waves. Glaucus ate a… read analysis of Glaucus

Sybil

Sybil is a woman who possesses long life. When Aeneas visits her, Sybil explains that she once asked Apollo to make her live as many years as there were grains of dust at her feet… read analysis of Sybil

Picus

Picus is a character in a story that one of Circe’s nymphs tells Macareus. Picus was a handsome horse rider who rejected all his lovers in favor of a girl named Canensread analysis of Picus

Pomona

Pomona is the goddess of fruits. She spends her time tending her orchards and rejects all her lovers. One of these lovers, Vertumnus, disguises himself as an old woman and tries to persuade her… read analysis of Pomona

Pythagoras

Pythagoras is a famous philosopher, mathematician, and theologian who lives in Croton and delivers speeches to audiences. Numa attends one of Pythagoras’s speeches in which Pythagoras urges people not to eat meat as animals are… read analysis of Pythagoras

Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar is a ruler of Rome who is famous for his deeds in matters of war and peace. Venus foresees that Julius Caesar will be betrayed and killed by two of his trusted senators… read analysis of Julius Caesar
Minor Characters
Saturn
The godSaturn is the god Jupiter’s father. Shortly after the universe is created, Saturn is banished to the underworld and Jupiter becomes the head of the gods.
Lycaön
Lycaön is a corrupted king who lives during the Iron Age. Jupiter pays him a visit disguised as a mortal, and Lycaön mocks the gods and kills and eats Jupiter’s companion. To punish him, Jupiter strikes his palace with lightning and turns Lycaön into a wolf.
Pyrrha
Pyrrha is Deucalion’s devout wife.
Apollo
Apollo is the son of Jupiter and Latona. He is also Diana’s brother and Aesculapius’s father. He is known as the god of archery, among other things. He is active in many stories throughout the Metamorphoses.
Cupid
Cupid is Venus’s son and the god of love. Many times throughout the Metamorphoses, he uses his magic arrows to cause both humans and gods to fall in love.
Mercury
Mercury is Jupiter’s son. He is known as the messenger god and flies on winged sandals. He appears throughout the Metamorphoses, such as in the stories of Aglauros and Battus.
Argus
Argus is a man with one hundred eyes whom Juno assigns to guard Io the cow. Jupiter has his son Mercury kill Argus, and Juno uses his hundred eyes to bejewel the tail feathers of her signature peacocks.
Phoebus
Phoebus is the sun god. He is in charge of the changes of days and season and owns a fiery chariot which he drives around the sky. His son Phaethon once tries to drive this chariot and plummets to his death, setting the Earth on fire.
Diana
Diana is the goddess of chastity. She leads groups of women who live chaste lives as huntresses. She punishes anyone in her clan who fails to live chastely, and any outsider who sees her naked.
Ocyrhoë
Ocyrhoë is the daughter of the centaur who takes care of Apollo’s son. She prophesies what will happen in Apollo’s son’s future, and then Jupiter turns her into a horse.
Pallas Athena
Pallas Athena is a Greek goddess. A statue of her plays an important role during the Trojan War, Ulysses claiming credit for recapturing the statue from where it had been smuggled within Troy’s walls.
Herse
Herse isthe sister of Minerva and Aglauros. The god Mercury falls in love with her, sparking Aglauros’s jealousy.
Minerva
Minerva is the goddess of weaving and wisdom. Among other actions, she sends Envy to punish Aglauros and punishes Arachne for daring to compete with her in weaving.
Europa
Europa is a princess and one of Jupiter’s love interests. Jupiter disguises himself as a gentle bull and inveigles Europa into his custody by riding into the sea with her on his back.
Actaeon
Actaeon is Cadmus’s son. He accidentally sees Diana naked, and she punishes him by transforming him into a stag. His hunting dogs kill him later that day.
Semele
Semele is Cadmus’s daughter and one of Jupiter’s love interests. Juno—furious that Jupiter has impregnated Semele—convinces Semele to sleep with Jupiter while he is in his divine form. Doing this kills Semele, and Jupiter snatches her baby from her womb and saves it by stitching it into his thigh.
Teiresias
Teiresias is a famous prophet. He has lived as both a man and a woman, and so settles a debate between Juno and Jupiter as to whether men or women enjoy sex more: he says women do.
Acoetes
Acoetes is a former sailor and one of Bacchus’s companions. His sailing crew had once captured Bacchus and refused to believe he was a god. Bacchus punished them by turning them into wild animals but saved Acoetes who had believed him.
Agave
Agave is Pentheus’s mother. When he refuses to worship Bacchus, she rips off his head and limbs with the help of her companions.
Mars
Mars is Jupiter and Juno’s son. He is known as the god of war.
Venus
Venus is the goddess of love. Aeneas and Julius Caesar are both her sons, and she makes them gods at the end of their lives. Cupid is also her son.
Leucothoë
Leucothoë is one of Phoebus’s love interests. Phoebus goes to her disguised as a mortal, then reveals his identity and rapes her. Leucothoë’s father is furious that his daughter is no longer a virgin and buries her alive. Phoebus tries to revive her but is unsuccessful.
Hermaphroditus  
Hermaphroditus is a boy who swims in Salmacis’s pool, causing her to fall in love with him and seduce him. After Salmacis has their bodies and faces merged, Hermaphroditus asks the gods to curse Salmacis’s pool to make whoever swims in it androgynous.
Athamas
Athamas is Ino’s husband. When Juno poisons him and Ino, Athamas goes mad and shatters the skull of one of his children against a wall.
Harmonia
Harmonia is Cadmus’s wife.
Andromeda
Andromeda is a girl whose fellow citizens tie her to a cliff above a sea-monster in unjust punishment for her mother’s arrogance. Perseus rescues her and marries her.
Phineus
Phineus is Andromeda’s former fiancé. When Perseus marries Andromeda, Phineus challenges him at the wedding party and starts a deadly battle. Phineus is turned to stone when Perseus forces him to look at Medusa’s head.
Calliope
Calliope is one of the Muses. She sings a song that wins a competition against nine sisters who boasted that they could sing better than the Muses. Calliope and the Muses repeat this song to Minerva when she goes to visit them.
Pluto
Pluto is the lord of Hades, or the underworld. He is significant in the story of “The Rape of Proserpina” when he kidnaps Ceres’s daughter Proserpina and makes her Queen of Hades. Orpheus also negotiates with Pluto when he tries to retrieve Eurydice from Hades.
Arethusa
Arethusa is a nymph whom Ceres encounters when she is looking for Proserpina. Arethusa was once pursued by a nymph, but Diana saved her from rape by transforming her into a spring named after her.
Latona
Latona is a goddess and the mother of Apollo and Diana. At one point, she harshly punishes Niobe who refuses to worship her.
Itys
Itys is Tereus and Procne’s son.
Boreas
Boreas is the god of the north wind. Wary of the story of Tereus, Procne, and Philomela, Boreas tries to woo his love interest Orithyia gently. However, when this is unsuccessful, he kidnaps Orithyia in a windstorm.
Orithyia
Orithyia is Boreas’s love interest. After he kidnaps her in a windstorm, she gives birth to twins with golden wings.
Aeson
Aeson is Jason’s elderly father whom Medea magically restores to a younger age.
Pelias
Pelias is an elderly king whom Medea deceives and pretends to restore to youth. Medea concocts a false potion and convinces Pelias’s daughters to pierce their father with swords, saying this is part of the revival process. Medea finally slits Pelias’s throat, killing him.
Aegeus
Aegeus is an Athenian king whom Medea marries after she kills her children and leaves Jason. Aegeus saves his son Theseus from Medea’s attempt to poison him, and Athens gathers to rejoice in Theseus’s brave exploits.
The Minotaur
The Minotaur is the monstrous son of Pasiphae—Minos’s wife—and a bull. Minos hides the Minotaur in a labyrinth, ashamed of his wife’s affair.
Ariadne
Ariadne is Minos’s daughter. When Theseus is about to be fed to the Minotaur, Ariadne helps him escape. Theseus then kidnaps Ariadne and abandons her on an island. Taking pity on her, Bacchus makes Ariadne a constellation.
Icarus  
Icarus is Daedaulus’s son. When Icarus is flying behind his father on the wings Daedaulus had fashioned from feathers and wax, he is exhilarated with the flight and flies higher towards the sun. His wings melt, and he falls and drowns in the sea.
Perdix
Perdix is Daedaulus’s student. When Perdix invents the compass all by himself, Daedaulus pushes him off a mountain in jealousy. To save him from the deadly fall, Pallas Athena turns him into a partridge—a bird too afraid of heights to fly.
Baucis
Baucis is Philemon’s devout and generous wife. Jupiter and Mercury reward her for her hospitality and commemorate her as a linden tree when she dies.
Mestra
Mestra is Erysichthon’s daughter. After Erysichthon is infected with hunger by Ceres, he sells Mestra as a slave. Mestra begs Neptune to give her the power of transformation which she then uses to escape servitude.
Nessus
Nessus is a centaur who competes with Hercules for Deianira. Hercules wins Deianira and wounds Nessus, but Nessus gives Deianira a cursed shirt that eventually burns Hercules to death.
Alcmena
Alcmena is Hercules’s mother. Alcmena tells Iole—who is pregnant with Hercules’s grandson—about the painful time she had giving birth to the half-god Hercules and how her maid Galanthis had helped her when the gods wouldn’t.
Iole
Iole is the wife of Hercules’s son. She tells Alcmena the story of her sister Dryope.
Galanthis
Galanthis was Alcmena’s nursemaid when Alcmena was giving birth to Hercules. Galanthis tricked the goddess of childbirth (who was cursing Alcmena on Juno’s orders) into lifting her curse. The goddess of childbirth turned Galanthis into a weasel.
Dryope
Dryope is Iole’s sister. One day while walking her baby, Dryope accidentally picks a lotus—a flower that is a nymph. The lotus nymph punishes Dryope by transforming her into a tree.
Miletus
Miletus is Apollo’s son and the father of Byblis and Caunus.
Caunus
Caunus is Byblis’s brother and the object of her love. When Byblis confesses her incestuous feelings for him, Caunus is appalled and rejects her. Despite his continuous rejections, Byblis persists in pursuing him until he flees and sets up a new home in a faraway place.
Eurydice
Eurydice is Orpheus’s wife. She dies just after her wedding when a snake bites her ankle. Orpheus unsuccessfully tries to rescue her from Hades but joins her later when he dies himself.
Cyparissus
Cyparissus is a boy who loves a beautiful stag. When Cyparissus accidentally kills the stag, Cyparissus yearns to die himself, so Apollo transforms him into a cypress tree.
Hyacinthus
Hyacinthus is a Spartan boy whom Apollo likes. Apollo disguises himself so he can play frisbee with Hyacinthus, but Apollo throws the frisbee so hard that Hyacinthus dies when he tries to catch it. Feeling guilty, Apollo transforms Hyacinthus into a hyacinth.
Adonis
Adonis is Myrrha and her father’s son. Venus, accidentally grazed by one of Cupid’s arrows, falls in love with Adonis and spends time with him in the woods. When she leaves, Adonis is killed by a boar. Venus transforms him into a red flower.
Hippomenes
Hippomenes is one of the men who challenges Atalanta to a running race in hopes of winning her hand in marriage. Hippomenes receives help from Venus and wins the race. However, he forgets to thank Venus for helping him and is transformed into a lion along with Atalanta.
Pan
Pan is a pipe-playing nymph who appears throughout the Metamorphoses.
Laomedon
Laomedon is the first founder of Troy. When Apollo and Neptune help him finish Troy and he refuses to pay them, they flood the city and take it over.
Neptune
Neptune is the god of the sea.
Telamon  
Telamon is Aeacus’s son. He helps Meleager defeat the Calydonian boar and assists Apollo and Neptune in taking Troy from Laomedon.
Thetis
Thetis is a sea-goddess and Peleus’s wife. At first, she resists Peleus’s attempts to sleep with her, but when he ensnares her in a rope she gives in, deciding the gods are on his side. She soon gives birth to Achilles.
Daedalion
Daedalion is Ceyx’s brother. Daedalion’s daughter is impregnated simultaneously by Apollo and Mercury and gives birth to twins. When she boasts of her importance, she is killed by Diana. Daedalion is transformed into a hawk when he throws himself off a mountain in grief over his daughter’s death.
Priam
Priam is the father of Hector, Aesacus, and Paris. He is sacrificed to Jupiter after Troy loses the Trojan War.
Helen
Helen is an Athenian princess whom Paris kidnaps, instigating the Trojan War between Troy and Athens.
Paris
Paris is Priam’s son and Hector’s brother. He kidnaps Helen, thus incurring Athens’s attack on Troy. During the Trojan War that ensues, Paris kills Achilles with the help of Apollo.
Hector
Hector is Priam’s son and a Trojan war hero.
Achilles
Achilles is an Athenian war hero, the son of Peleus and Thetis. He kills many Trojans in the Trojan war but is ultimately killed by an arrow through his heel (his one mortal spot), shot by Paris. Achilles’ glorious shield and sword are passed down to Ulysses.
Cycnus
Cycnus is Neptune’s son. Achilles kills Cycnus during the Trojan War, upsetting Neptune and causing him to implore Apollo to strike down Achilles.
Nestor
Nestor is a wise man and a member of the Athenian army. He tells the Athenians the story of the Lapiths and Centaurs, and of Hercules’s violence towards his brother.
Ulysses
Ulysses is an Athenian war strategist and soldier who bears Achilles’s sword and shield after he dies. When the Trojan War ends, Ulysses takes possession of Hecuba and other widows of Troy and sets sail for Greece.
Ajax
Ajax competes against Ulysses for the right to bear Achilles’s sword and shield after he dies. In Ajax’s speech, he calls Ulysses a deceiver and a coward. When the shield and sword are given to Ulysses, Ajax kills himself.
Philoctetes
Philoctetes is a former Athenian war hero who was driven mad by pain and banished to an island. After winning the contest for Achilles’s sword and shield, Ulysses goes to retrieve Hercules’s arrows which are in Philoctetes’s possession.
Polyxena
Polyxena is Hector and Hecuba’s daughter. After Troy loses the Trojan War, Ulysses captures Polyxena and Hecuba and sacrifices Polyxena on board their ship.
Anius
Anius is a king whom Aeneas visits during his travels. Anius tells Aeneas how he lost all his children thanks to the Athenian army.
Galatea
Galatea is a sea-nymph. The Cyclops is in love with Galatea, but she rejects him and spends time with her lover Acis. The Cyclops gets madly jealous and pursues Acis. Galatea saves Acis from being crushed by turning him into a river.
Acis
Acis is Galatea’s lover. He is attacked by the Cyclops and saved by Galatea who turns him into a river.
Circe
Circe is Phoebus’s daughter.At one point, she transforms Ulysses’s companions into pigs, and Ulysses has to sleep with her in order for her to reverse the curse.
Achaemenides
Achaemenides is an Athenian who was abandoned by Ulysses when the Cyclops was terrorizing his crew. Aeneas found Achaemenides and took him onto his ship.
Macareus
Macareus is a former companion of Ulysses. He tells Achaemenides stories from when Ulysses and his crew stayed with Circe in her cave.
Canens
Canens is Picus’s wife. When Picus doesn’t return from his ride, she collapses in grief beside a stream, where she transforms into water.
Turnus
Turnus is the ruler of Ardea and leads several tribes in the charge to defeat Aeneas. After fighting stubbornly against Aeneas’s army, Turnus is killed and Aeneas takes over Ardea.
Diomedes
Diomedes is a king whom Turnus requests help from in his war against Aeneas. Diomedes refuses, remembering all of his trials during the Trojan War.
Cybele
Cybele is the mother of the gods. She sides with Aeneas in his war against Turnus, and transforms the Trojans’ burning ships into sea-monsters.
Vertumnus
Vertumnus is a god who seduces Pomona.
Romulus
Romulus is the grandson of a king whose city is unjustly captured by one of Aeneas’s descendants. Romulus retakes the city and names it Rome. Mars then makes Romulus a god.
Hersilie
Hersilie is Romulus’s wife. After Romulus is made a god, Hersilie grieves, but then Iris transports Hersilie to the sky to join Romulus as a goddess.
Myscelus
Myscelus is the founder of Croton.
Egeria
Egeria is Numa’s wife and is overcome with grief when Numa dies. Hippolytus tries to comfort her without success, so Diana turns her into a spring.
Numa
Numa succeeds Romulus as the leader of Rome.
Hippolytus
Hippolytus is a man who was banished by his father when his stepmother (who desired him) spread the rumor that Hippolytus desired her. Hippolytus wandered in exile, until a fall from his chariot killed him. Hippolytus was saved from Hades by the gods and returned to society.
Cipus
Cipus is a Roman man who one day grows horns and hears a prophecy that he will become Rome’s king. To save Rome from a tyrant, Cipus convinces the Roman citizens to banish him.
Aesculapius
Aesculapius is Apollo’s son. Initially, he lives in a temple in Epidaurus until the Romans transport him to Rome to heal their plague. Aesculapius travels to Rome in the form of a serpent.
Caesar Augustus
Caesar Augustus is Julius Caesar’s son and succeeds him as the ruler of Rome. He is the current ruler of Rome when the Metamorphoses ends, and Ovid states that he hopes Augustus will rule for a long time after.