"Metamorphosis" is a poem by the Ancient Roman poet Ovid in fifteen books, which tell about various transformations that have occurred since the creation of the world, according to the Greek and Roman mythology. “Theogony”, written by Hesiod, is an earlier version of creation that describes the origin of the gods. Both stories depicts the creation of the world, however, there are significant differences, and also similarities in the approach of creation of Ovid and Hesiod.
Monumental work of Ovid considered, which goes under the title "Metamorphoses", is written in characteristic for the epic poetry hexameters. In the 15 songs contained 246 myths, telling about the creation of all things: from turning chaos into cosmos and to the transformation of the divine Caesar into a star. Since the metamorphosis of Greek and Roman myths, carefully linked together in a single composition, in Ovid’s "Metamorphoses" are intertwined with the heroic past and present of Rome. “Theogony” (the origin of the gods) is a poetic work of Hesiod (VIII -VII century BC), one of the first ancient Greek mythological poems. Since the gods represent the phenomena of nature and social life, it is also the story of the origin of the universe and the people, of the place of the last of the gods - a manifestation of the fundamental question of philosophy. The narrative is first on behalf of Hesiod. He formulates the most important ideological question. This question is answered not by the Hesiod, and by Heliconian Muses.
Both stories tell about the creation of the universe, the world, gods and humanity. However, “Theogony” covers the events between the gods and the titans in more detail, than the “Metamorphosis”. Moreover, according to both authors, humankind was punished by Zeus (Jupiter), but in different ways and for different reasons. In the same time, “Metamorphosis” describes that, at the beginning, not only the chaos was in everything, things occur, to some extent, in accordance with a certain direction and order. (Ovid, Lombardo, S., 2010, p.6) In its turn, in “Theogony” by Hesiod, all parts of the earth were created randomly, without succumbing to any direction and plan and at first, Chaos occurred. Here it looks as though the Gods created things without any specific goal. (Athanassakis, A., 1983, p.18) According to Ovid, the creatures are mentioned first, and then people are mentioned while Hesiod does not mention the creation of humanity exactly. Another distinguishing feature is that in “Metamorphosis” Gods do not have specific names; they appear just as the creators. (Ovid, Lombardo, S., 2010, p.7). In “Theogony”, the contrary, the Gods have specific names and it is stated that they live at Olympus. According to “Metamorphoses”, the earth, sky and water were created for the animals: “the sea allowed itself to swarm with glistening fish”. (Ovid, Lombardo, S., 2010, p.7) According to Hesiod, the Earth reveals sea and land, “all these she bore without mating in sweet love”. (Athanassakis, A., 1983, p.18). In addition, in ““Metamorphoses”, the Earth was created in the image of God to a man, “one who could rule the rest”. (Ovid, Lombardo, S., 2010, p.7) The Earth seems to be a place of the divine, according to Hesiod. (Athanassakis, A., 1983, p.18-19) According to Hesiod, there was five Ages of man, such as he added, Golden, Silver, Brazen, Iron, and Bronze Age. According to Ovid, there was four Ages of man without Bronze Age. In addition, it should be noted that both poets use in their descriptions different times: if Hesiod starts between now and then, pumping the enumeration of disasters goes to the future, then Ovid initially uses perfect and imperfect, and then makes the transition to the present time. Thus, Ovid achieves a very important effect: the terrible misfortunes that Hesiod only predicted in his eschatological prophecy, now are listed by Ovid as already come and taken place before the eyes of his contemporaries.
One of the myths of metamorphosis is the myth of Arachne. According to the myth, Arachne was the daughter of a shepherd, and an excellent weaver, “She had been taught by Pallas”. (Ovid, Lombardo, S., 2011, p.190) She boasted that she is a better weaver than Athena (Minerva) is. Athena was offended and organized a competition among them, telling her that she would never be compared with the gods. Competing, Athena wove four stories about how the gods punished mortals because they considered themselves equal, and Arachne wove stories about how the gods mock mortals and that they do bad things. As a punishment for the fact that Arachne wove more beautiful, than Athena did, and offended the gods, Athena turned her into a spider, thus showing that mortals would be punished by the gods. In this myth, Ovid’s approach to the myth that the mortals worship a pantheon of gods and they can be punished by the gods for disobedience can be traced. This approach complies with the principles of ancient Greek mythology, which is the basis of Ovid's “Metamorphose”.
The mythology of the ancient world is a kind of complicated and multifaceted symbiosis of mythologies of ancient Greece and Rome, the majority of myths and legends of creation belongs to the first of which, as well as the glory of keeping this to the second. Ovid's “Metamorphoses” is a great example of the creation, including all the classic myths. The plot of "Metamorphosis" is none other than the ancient mythology, set out systematically and chronologically. However, Ovid, deeply cognizant individual self-assertion, is aware of the limitations of the latter, and even in its tragedy. Ovid’s myths are about the competition between people and the gods, with the same picture of the death of these people, who do not know their true place in life.
Ovid, Lombardo, S. Metamorphoses. Hackett Publishing Co. 2010. Web. 22 March 2016
Athanassakis, A. Hesiod: Theogony, Works and Days. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 1983. Web. 22 March 2016