Book Notes

Book 4: The Transformation of Cadmus Notes from Metamorphoses

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Metamorphoses Book 4: The Transformation of Cadmus

Cadmus and his wife were besieged by grief with the news of Ino's death. After the string of misfortune their family had run into in Thebes, the city Cadmus founded, he and Harmonia left the city. The two were talking of earlier times when Cadmus said, "'Was that a sacred snake / My spear transfixed when I had made my way / From Sidon's walls and scattered on the soil / The serpent's teeth, those seeds of magic power? / If it is he the jealous gods avenge, With wrath so surely aimed, I pray that I / May be a snake and stretch along the ground.'" Book 4 -- The Transformation of Cadmus, line 571-6 No sooner had he said the words, than he turned into a snake. His wife, terrified to lose her husband, cried out as she let him coil around her neck that she, too, wanted to be a snake. Within moments, she had been transformed as well, and the two went to live in the woods nearby and bothered man no more.

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