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Book 4: The Sun in Love Notes from Metamorphoses

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Metamorphoses Book 4: The Sun in Love

The second of Minyas' daughters began her story about when the sun god, Phoebus, fell in love with Leucothoe. Apparently Phoebus had seen Mars and Venus having an affair, and so the sun god took it upon himself to tell Venus' husband, Vulcan, that his wife was cheating on him. Vulcan forged a bronze chain that was so thin it was invisible to the naked eye and placed it around Venus' bed. When she and Mars were in bed together again, the chain snared them. Vulcan brought all the other gods of Olympus in to see Venus and Mars in their shame, and the gods made fun of them for it for a long time afterward. However, it is generally believed that the gods do this because they are envious of Mars and Venus

Venus plotted her revenge against Phoebus, and she made him fall hopelessly in love with Leucothoe. To get the girl, he disguised himself as her mother and went into her room. When he'd sent all the servants away, he revealed himself to her. At first she was frightened, but then she was flattered that the god was in love with her, and so she did not fight off his advances.

Clytie, a girl who had been rejected by Phoebus, was jealous, and so she spread the word of the sun god's affair with Leucothoe. The girl's father was so ashamed that he buried his daughter alive for her unchaste behavior, and Phoebus could not save her from the burial or revive her lifeless body. So when she was prepared for burial, he poured nectar on her body and she became a frankincense bush.

Clytie pined away for Phoebus, who would have nothing to do with her. She sat for nine days in a field where she could watch her love's daily journey across the sky. She wasted away with longing and turned into a violet.

Topic Tracking: Women 3

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