Daily Archives: March 20, 2011



From the BBC, Act V of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring the artfully butchered rendition of Ovid’s “Pyramus and Thisbe.”  (The conclusion after the jump.)

Today is Ovid‘s birthday (43 BC – 17 AD).

Frye in The Double Vision picks up on the divergence of Classical mythology and Christian mythology at the dawn of the Christian age:

Later centuries were fascinated by the contrast between the temporal ruler of the world, Augustus Caesar, and its spiritual ruler, Jesus, who was born during Augustus’ reign. Contemporary with Jesus we have the whole mythological side of Classical culture summed up by two great masterworks, Virgil’s Aeneid and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Ovid provides a kind of encyclopedia of mythology in which the central theme is metamorphosis, the incessant dissolving and reshaping of forms of life. Toward the end of his long poem, he brings in the philosopher Pythagoras  to expound a gloomy philosophy based on the same theme. The Metamorphoses starts with creation and deluge myths, and Pythagoras sees at the end of time a running down of the world into a kind of entropy, or chaos come again. But there are also eulogies of the Caesars, particularly Julius, as the only symbols of what can transcend metamorphosis. In Virgil, similarly, the myth of Rome was founded by Trojan refugees expands into a vision of history in which the Roman Empire represents a kind of goal or telos of the historical process. (CW 4, 216-17)

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