Book Notes

Notes on Characters from Metamorphoses

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Metamorphoses Major Characters

Saturn: He is the ruler of the world before Jove. He is the father of Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto.

Jupiter (Jove): He is the chief of the gods and a son of Saturn and husband of Juno.

Neptune: Neptune is Jupiter's (Jove) brother and the god of the sea.

Themis: She is a goddess of justice and has oracular powers.

Apollo (Phoebus): He is the son of Latona and Jove. He is the god of sight of the past, present, and future, as well as song and healing.

Cupid: He is the son of Venus and god of love.

Diana: Diana, daughter of Latona and Jove, is Apollo's twin sister. She is a virgin huntress and also the moon goddess.

Juno: She is the queen of the gods, sister and wife of Jove.

Mercury: He is the son of Jove and Maia, also the messenger of the gods.

Pan: He is the god of woods and shepherds.

Athene (Pallas, Minerva): She is the daughter of Jove, goddess of wisdom and technical skill. She is also a virgin goddess and the patron goddess of Athens.

Vulcan (Hephaestus): He is the husband of Venus and god of fire, the blacksmith god.

Mars: Mars is the god of war, and the son of Jove and Juno.

Venus (Aphrodite): Venus is the goddess of love, mother of Cupid and of Aeneas. Vulcan is her husband.

Bacchus: He is the god of wine; son of Jove and Semele.

Furies, aka. Fates: Allecto, Megaere, and Tisiphone are three sisters whose function is to avenge and punish. They live in the Underworld.

Medusa: Medusa is one of the three Gorgons.

Atlas: Atlas is a mountain in Northern Africa personified as a giant. He is the son of Iapetos and the father of the Pleiads.

Graie: The twin daughters of Phorcys are Medusa's guardians. They share an eye between them, and Perseus got to Medusa by stealing the eye from the sisters as they were changing turns to use it.

Pegasus: Pegasus is a winged horse sprouted from the blood of Medusa when Perseus severed her head. His hoof created the spring Hippocrene when it touched the earth.

Proteus: He is a sea god who can change into many forms.

The Muses: The muses are nine sisters who are like patron saints of poetry, song, drama, and other art forms.

Ceres: Ceres is the goddess of agriculture and sister of Jove. Proserpine is her daughter.

Pluto: Pluto is a brother of Jupiter and Neptune and god of the Underworld.

Latona (Leto): She is the mother of twins, Apollo and Diana.

Hecate: She is the goddess of enchantments.

Dawn: She is the personification of the sunrise.

Hunger: She is the personification of hunger.

Hercules: He is the son of Jove and Alcmena who, with his heroic feats, earned the right to immortality.

Ilithya: She is the goddess of childbirth.

Hebe: She is youth.

Isis: She is an Egyptian goddess.

Thetis: She is a sea-nymph, daughter of Nereus, wife of Peleus, and mother of Achilles.

Achilles: He is the son of Peleus and Thetis.

Sleep: He is the personification of sleep.

Rumour: She is the personification of rumor.

Circe: She is a goddess and enchantress, also daughter of the sun.

Aeolus: He is the god of the winds and father of Alcyone.

Cybele: She is the mother of the gods.

Aesculapius: He is Apollo's son, the god of medicine.

Minor Characters

Giants of Earth: These are huge creatures born of earth, fertilized by the blood of Heaven (Uranus), father of Saturn.

Lycaon: Lycaon is an evil man who tried to trick Jove into eating mortal flesh.

Iris: Iris is the rainbow, and is the messenger of the gods. It was believed that the ends of the rainbow gathered water to refill the clouds.

Deucalion and Pyrrha: Deucalion and his wife, Pyrrha, are the only mortals to survive the great flood that Jove sent down to destroy mankind.

Daphne: Daphne is a daughter of the river Peneus.

Io: Io is a Naiad, daughter of the river Inachus.

Argus: Argus is a man with a hundred eyes.

Syrinx: Syrinx is the Naiad Pan chased through the woods.

Phaethon: He is the son of Clymene and Phoebus, the sun god.

Cycnus: He is a kinsman and lover of Phaethon.

Callisto: She is a nymph follower of Diana.

Arcas: He is the son of Callisto conceived when Jove raped her in the forest.

Coronis: Phoebus fell in love with Coronis.

Erichthonius: When Vulcan tried to seduce Athene, his semen fell on her leg and she wiped it onto the earth. Erichthonius is the result.

Aglauros: Aglauros is one of the daughters of Cecrops.

Chiron: Chiron is a centaur -- half man, half-horse. He trains the elite of Greek heroes.

Ocyrhoe: She is the daughter of Chiron, the centaur, who has the gift of prophecy.

Aesculapius: He is the unborn child of Phoebus and Coronis. His father removed him from his dead mother's womb and took him to Chiron to be raised.

Battus: He saw Mercury hide Apollo's herd in the woods.

Herse: She is one of the daughters of Cecrops.

Europa: She is the young daughter of the King of Sidon.

Cadmus: Cadmus is the founding father of Thebes

Harmonia: She is the wife of Cadmus, and daughter of Mars and Venus.

Actaeon: Actaeon is Cadmus' grandson.

Semele: Semele is Cadmus' daughter.

Tiresias: Tiresias is a prophet.

Narcissus: He is the son of the river-god Cephisus and the Naiad Liriope.

Echo: Echo is a nymph in love with Narcissus.

Pentheus: He is a king of Thebes and son of Echion.

Acoetes: He is a follower of Bacchus.

Daughters of Minyas: These women are skeptical about Bacchus' divinity.

Pyramus and Thisbe: These two are lovers kept apart by the great wall that separates their houses.

Leucothoe: She is a daughter of Orchamus, and Phoebus fell in love with her.

Clytie: She is loved by Phoebus and changed to a heliotrope (violet).

Salmacis: She is a pool in Caria and its water nymph.

Hermaphroditus: He is the son of Mercury (Hermes) and Venus (Aphrodite).

Athamas: He is the husband of Ino.

Ino: She is a daughter of Cadmus and wife of Athamas.

Perseus: Perseus is the son of Danae and Jove, who impregnated her through a golden rain.

Andromeda: She is the daughter of Cepehus who is rescued by Perseus.

Phineus: He is Cepheus' brother.

The Pierids: These are nine sisters who challenged the Muses to a talent contest and were changed to magpies.

Prosepine: Proserpine is the daughter of Ceres and Jove, also the wife of Pluto.

Cyane: She is a fountain-nymph changed into water.

Arethusa: Arethusa is a water nymph loved by Alpheus and turned into a spring.

Ascalaphus: He is the son of Acheron and Orphne.

Triptolemus: He is the son of Celeus, King of Eleusis.

Arachne: She is a Lydian girl who is an excellent weaver.

Niobe: She is the wife of Amphion, king of Thebes, and mother of seven sons and seven daughters.

Lycian Peasants: They denied Latona water in their village and she turned them to frogs.

Marsyas: He is a Phrygian satyr and river who challenged Apollo.

Pelops: He is the son of Tantalus and brother of Niobe.

Tantalus: He is Pelops' and Niobe's father. He is sent to the Underworld and his eternal punishment is tantalization. Fruit hangs just above his head and water at his feet, but when he reaches for either, it recedes from his grasp.

Tereus: He is the king of Thrace and Procne's husband.

Procne: She is Pandion's daughter, Philomela's sister, and Tereus' wife.

Philomela: She is Procne's sister.

Boreas: He is the North Wind, and a god.

Orithyia: She is Procris' sister and Boreas' wife.

Jason: He is the leader of the Argonauts and Medea's husband.

Medea: Medea is the daughter Aeetes, king of Colchis, and Jason's wife. She is a sorceress.

Aeson: Aeson is Jason's aged father whom Medea restored to youth.

Pelias: He is Aeson's half-brother.

Theseus: He is the son of Aegeus and father of Hippolytus.

Minos: He is the son of Jove and Europa and king of Crete.

Aeacus: He is the king of Aegina, son of Aegina and Jove.

Cephalus: He is a prince of Athens and Procris' husband.

Phocus: He is a son of Aeacus, half-brother to Telemon and Peleus.

Procris: She is a daughter of Erechtheus. Procris married Cephalus.

Scylla: She is the daughter of King Nisus, of Megara.

The Minotaur: Minos' wife cheated on him with a bull, and the half-man, half-bull monster that is born is the Minotaur.

Daedalus: He is the inventor who created the labyrinth and built waxed wings to escape exile. Icarus is his son and Perdix is his nephew.

Ariadne: She is the daughter of Minos who is deserted by Theseus.

Icarus: He is the son of Daedalus.

Perdix: Perdix is Daedalus' nephew who invented the saw and the mathematical compass.

Meleager: He is a prince of Calydon, the son of Oeneus and Althaea.

Atalanta: She is an Arcadian girl loved by Meleager.

Althaea: She is a queen of Calydon and Meleager's mother.

Achelous: He is a river and a river-god.

Philemon and Baucis: They are a poor, old couple who offered gods disguised as strangers all that they had in their home.

Erysichthon: He is a sacrilegious king.

Cyanee: She is the nymph who gave birth to Caunus and Byblis

Byblis: She is Miletus' daughter who fell in love with her twin brother, Caunus.

Caunus: He is Miletus' son and Byblis' twin brother.

Iphis: She is a Cretan girl, the daughter of Ligdus and Telethusa.

Ligdus: He is Iphis' father.

Telethusa: She is the wife of Ligdus and mother of Iphis.

Orpheus: He is the musician and poet of Thrace, son of Apollo and Calliope, and husband of Eurydice.

Eurydice: She is the wife of Orpheus.

Cyparissus: He is a young boy loved by Apollo and turned into a cypress tree.

Ganymede: He is Jove's cupbearer.

Hyacinth: He is a Spartan boy loved by Apollo.

Propoetides and Crestae: They are races of people transformed by Venus for their scorn.

Pygmalion: He is a sculptor from Cyprus.

Cinyras: He is the son of Pygmalion and the father of Myrrha.

Myrrha: She is the incestuous daughter of Cinyras.

Adonis: He is the son of Myrrha who is loved by Venus.

Atalanta: She is the daughter of King Schoeneus.

Hippomenes: He is the son of Megareus and husband of Atalanta.

Silenus: He is a satyr and guardian of Bacchus.

Midas: He is a king of Phyrgia.

Laomedon: He is a king of Troy and father of Priam.

Peleus: He is the husband of Thetis and father of Achilles.

Ceyx: He is a king of Thracis and husband to Alcyone.

Daedalion: He is Ceyx's brother.

Alcyone: She is Ceyx's wife and daughter of Aeolus, the god of the winds.

Aesacus: He is a son of Priam.

Priam: He is the last king of Troy and husband to Hecuba.

Paris: He is a son of Priam and Hecuba, and Hector's brother. He kidnapped Helen and started the Trojan War.

Calchas: He is a Greek soldier who made Iphigenia a sacrifice to Diana.

Agamemnon: He is a king of Mycenae and Greek soldier during Trojan War.

Cycnus: He is a son of Neptune.

Nestor: He is a king of Pylos who is famous for his wisdom and eloquence.

Caeneus: Caenis is a woman turned into a man after Neptune raped her.

Pirithous: He is a friend of Theseus and husband of Hippodame.

Centaurs: They are a race of creatures that are half-man, half-horse.

Periclymenus: He is Nestor's brother who is killed by Hercules.

Hector: He is Paris' brother and Priam's son.

Ajax: He is a son of Telamon and a great Greek hero of the Trojan War.

Ulysses (Odysseus): He is a king of Ithaca and a great soldier of the Trojan War.

Philoctetes: He is a friend of Hercules and keeper of Hydra's arrows.

Hecuba: She is Priam's wife.

Polydorus: He is Priam and Hecuba's youngest son.

Polymestor: He is a king of Thrace and Priam's son-in-law

Polyxena: She is Priam and Hecuba's daughter

Aeneas: He is the son of Venus and Anchises. He is a Trojan hero.

Scylla: Once a beautiful girl, she became a sea-monster and then a cliff.

Galatea: She is the sea-nymph love of Acis and Polyphemus.

Polyphemus: He is a giant Cyclops who loved Galatea.

Acis: He is the son of a river and love of Galatea.

Glaucus: He is a fisherman transformed to merman.

Dido: She is a queen of Carthage who killed herself because Aeneas left her.

Sibyl: She is the priestess of Apollo at Cumae. She is also a mortal who lived for centuries because she wished to have as many birthdays as grains of sand in a small pile. Her body withered away as she aged.

Acheamenides: He is a shipmate of Ulysses who'd been rescued by Aeneas.

Macareus: He is a shipmate of Ulysses.

Picus: He is a king of Latium and son of Saturn.

Turnus: He is a king of Rutuli of Latium.

Diomede: He is a Greek hero and friend of Ulysses.

Pomona : She is a wood nymph of Latium and wife of Vertumnus.

Vertumnus: He is an Italian deity, the god of the changing seasons.

Romulus: He is the son of Mars and father of Roman people.

Numa: He is the second king of Rome.

Myscelus: He is the founder of Crotona.

Pythagoras: He is a famous Greek philosopher.

Hippolytus: He is Theseus' son.

Cipus: He is a legendary Roman praetor.

Julius Caesar: He is a Roman statesman.

Augustus: He is the first of the Roman Emperors.

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