Deucalion and Pyrrlia

''Before his exile, Ovid wrote a longpoem in hexameters, the Metamorphoses (Transformations), which consists of a large number of stories from mythology and legend involving a change of form or shape (as, for example, humans changed into birds or trees). In the story from which the following selection is taken, Jupiter, exasperated by humanity's wickedness, has ordered a universal flood. Only Deucalion and his wife, Pyrrha, because of their piety, are allowed to survive. When the flood subsides, they go to the temple of Themis, the goddess of justice, and ask how they might restore the human race.

Ut templi tetigere gradus, procumbit uterque 375

pronus humi gelidoque pavens dedit oscula saxo atque ita'si precibus" dixerunt'numina iustis victa remollescunt, si flectitur ira deorum, die, Themi, qua generis damnum reparabile nostri arte sit, et mersis fer opem, mitissima, rebus!" 380

mota dea est sortemque dedit: "discedite templo et velate caput cinctasque resolvite vestes text P. Ovidii Nasonis Metamorphoses, ed. W. S. Anderson

(Bibliotheca Teubneriana, 1996) meter hexameter [§mi]

uttem|pli || tetl|geregra|dus || pro|cumbit u|terque pronus hu|ml || geli|doque pa|vens || dedit | oscula | saxo

375 Ut + ind. when; tetigere (= tetigerunt; tango -ere) reached; gradus (gradus -us m.) steps; procumbit historic pres. [§g6o] (procumbo -ere fall down)—the historic present occurs several times later in the selection; uterque each. 376f. pronus' lying face down, prone; hum! loc. sg. of humus -I f., on the ground; gelido ... saxo dat. after dedit, to the cold stone; paveo -ere be afraid; osculum -1 n. kiss; precibus ... iustis instrumental abl. [§G47], lit., by just prayers, trans, by the prayers of the righteous; numina here divinities. 378 victa trans, won over; remollesco -ere relent; flecto -ere turn aside, avert. 379f. die 2 sg, imp. of died -ere; Themi voc. of Themis Themidis f. goddess of justice; take qua with arte (instrumental abl, [§g47]), by what way, how; generis ... nostri of our race; damnum -1 n. loss; reparabile ... sit subj. in an indirect question [§g9i], lit., can be restored, i.e., can be made good; mersis ... rebus dat. to the submerged (mergo -ere) world; fer 2 sg. imp. of fero ferre bring; opem help; mitissima voc. of the superl. of mitis gentle.

381 mota ... est was moved, i.e., by their prayers; sors sortis f. oracle, oracular statement; discedite (2 pi. imp. of discedd -ere) go out; templo abl. of place from which [§g 39]/row [my] temple.

382 velate (veld -are cover) and resolvite (resolvo -ere loosen) are 2 pi. imperative—both actions indicate a reverent and submissive attitude; caput sg. for pi.

Deucalion and Pyrrha

ossaque post tergum magnae iactate parentis!"

obstipuere diu: rumpitque silentia voce

Pyrrha prior iussisque deae parere récusât, 385

detque sibi veniam pavido rogat ore pavetque laedere iactatis maternas ossibus umbras.

interea repetunt caecis obscura latebris verba datae sortis secum inter seque volutant.

inde Promethides placidis Epimethida dictis 390

mulcet et "aut fallax" ait "est sollertia nobis, aut (pia sunt nullumque nefas oracula suadent!)

[§G53]; cinctàs ... vestes lit.,girt up (cingô -ere) clothes—because they had been walking, both were wearing a belt (zona) to hitch up their tunics.

383 os ossis n. bone; post tergum sg. for pi. [§053], lit., behind [your] back, i.e., over your backs; magnae ... parentis (parens parentis m./f.)—oracles in antiquity were never clear, and the expression bones of the great [female] parent was meant to puzzle; iactâte 2 pi. imp. of iactô -are throw.

384 obstipuëre (= obstipuërunt; obstipescô -ere) they were stunned; rumpit historic pres. [§g6o], trans, broke; silentia silence (pi. for sg. [§G53]; silentium -(i)ï n.); voce instrumental abl. [§g47] with [her] voice.

385 Pyrrha -ae f.; prior adj. translated by an adverb [§055], jirsi; iussïs (iussum -l n. order) dat. pi. after parère (here obey); recùsô -are refuse.

386 det... veniam (venia -ae f.pardon) indirect petition (hence the subj. [§G9i]) after rogat (the clause would normally be introduced by ut)—the understood subject of det is Themis, but sibi refers to Pyrrha; pavido ... ore abl. of manner [§g 4.5] with frightened mouth; paveô -ère (see 1.376).

387 maternas ... umbras maternal Shades, i.e., [her] mother's Shade (pi. for sg. [§G53])—Pyrrha wrongly thinks that the bones of her own mother were meant by the oracle; iactâtis ... ossibus instrumental abl. [§G47], lit., by bones having been thrown; trans, was afraid to offend [her] mother's Shade by throwing [her] bones.

388f. interea here nevertheless; repetô -erego back over, reflect on; obscûra agrees with verba but is qualified by caecis ... latebris (abl. of cause [§G48]), a highly metaphorical expression, because of [their] dark uncertainty (lit., by reason of [their] blind hiding places (latebra -ae f.)); sortis see 1. 381; sëcum and inter se go with different verbs but mean the same thing: between themselves, together; volùtô -are think/talk over.

39off. inde here then; Promêthidës (-ae m.) Greek patronymic, son of Prometheus (i.e., Deucalion); placidis ... dictis instrumental abl. [§G47] with calm words; Epimethida Greek acc, sg. of Epimëthis (Epimëthidos f.) feminine patronymic, daughter ofEpimetheus (i.e., Pyrrha)—Roman poets often used such terms for variety; mulceô -ëre soothe; aut... aut... either... or...; fallax deceptive; ait historic pres. [§g6o]; sollertia -ae f. cleverness; nobis pi. for sg. [§053], dat. of possessor [§G3o]; lit., either there is deceptive cleverness for us, i.e., either my cleverness deceives me; ôrâcula (ôràculum -ï n.) is the subject of sunt and suàdent (suâdeô -ëre counsel); take pia (righteous) predicatively f§g 57J after sunt; nefas (indecl.) crime.

magna parens terra est: lapides in corpore terrae ossa reor did; iacere hos post terga iubemur."

coniugis augurio quamquam Titania mota est, 395

spes tamen in dubio est: adeo caelestibus ambo diffidunt monitis; sed quid temptare nocebit?

discedunt velantque caput tunicasque recingunt et iussos lapides sua post vestigia mittunt.

saxa (quis hoc credat, nisi sit pro teste vetustas?) 400

ponere duritiem coepere suumque rigorem mollirique mora mollitaque ducere formam.

Ovid Metamorphoses 1.375-402

393f. lapides (lapis lapidis M. stone) is the subject of did in an acc.+inf. construction [§G 10] after reor, I think that stones are called (dici) bones in the earth's body; take iacere after iubemur, we are being ordered to throw; the antecedent of hos is lapides.

39$ coniunx coniugis m./f. spouse; augurio (augurium -(i)i n. here interpretation) instrumental abl. [§g 47] after mota est; quamquam (although) is postponed [§g4]; Titania -ae f. daughter of a Titan, i.e., Pyrrha, whose father, Epimetheus (see 1.390), belonged to a class of gods called Titans. 396f. spes ... in dubio est (historic pres.), lit., [their] hope is in doubt (dubium -(i)i n.), i.e., their hopes were faint; adeo to such an extent; caelestibus (caelestis divine) ... monitis (monitum -i n. instruction) dat. after diffidunt (difftdo -ere + dat. be uncertain about); ambo both; quid temptare nocebit? what would (lit., will) it hurt to try (tempto -are).'

398 The use of the historic present continues; discedo -ere see 1. 381—they now obey the goddess's instructions to go out, cover their heads, and loosen their tunics (tunica -ae f.); instead of the earlier resolvite (1. 382), we have recingunt (recingo '-'ere), which refers to the same action but is more specific, trans. unfasten.

399 iussos lapides lit., ordered stones, i.e., stones, as they had been ordered; sua post vestigia a variation of the earlier post tergum, lit., behind their footsteps (vestigium -(i)i n.), i.e., behind them; mittunt here throw.

400 saxa is used instead of lapides for variety; credat... sit two present subjunctives in an unreal conditional sentence referring to the future [§G94j, lit., who would believe this unless antiquity (vetustas vetustatis f.) were for (pro here fulfilling the function of) a witness, trans unless it were vouched for by antiquity.

40if. The subject of coepere (= coeperunt) is saxa (1.400), and three infinitives follow: (1) ponere (here set aside), which governs duritiem (durities -el f. hardness) and suum rigorem (rigor rigdris m. rigidity); (2) molllri (pres. pass. inf. of mollio -Ire make soft) to soften; mora (mora -ae f. delay) abl. of manner [§G45] with delay, i.e., slowly; and (3) ducere (here take on); take moilita with saxa; forma -ae f. shape—we infer from the context that a new shape is meant, each of which becomes a human being.


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