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Book Notes Book 3: Semele and The Birth of Bacchus Notes from Metamorphoses

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Metamorphoses Book 3: Semele and The Birth of Bacchus

Cadmus' family was not finished with their grief yet because his daughter, Semele was Jove's lover and had conceived his child. Juno was jealous and decided to punish the proud girl by tricking her. Juno disguised herself as Semele's nurse. She convinced the girl that the only way to know if it was Jove himself who came to her and was the father of her child was to ask him to appear to her in all his glory as a god, the way that he appeared to Juno when they were making love. Semele agreed with the plan and then asked Jove for an unnamed favor to prove his love. He vowed on the river Styx to give her anything she wanted, and when she made her request, he could do nothing but fulfill it despite its fateful consequences. So Jove called upon the thunder and lightning that were in his command and came to Semele in all his divine power, but her mortal frame was destroyed by his powerful divinity and she died. Jove took the partly formed child from her womb and sewed it into his thigh until it came to term. That is how Bacchus was born. Jove gave the baby to Semele's sister to be raised, and she gave him to the nymphs of Nysa after she had nursed him during his infancy.

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