Chapter 4

Ovid's Creation Story

In this chapter, you encounter a story that at first seems quite similar to Hesiod's in Chapter 3. However, the reading is Ovid's Roman version of the creation of the universe, and when you get beyond your first impression, a careful reading will allow you to see that it is quite different from Hesiod's creation.

Look for the ways that Ovid's story reveals his own personality and perspectives and shows the culture of his time, as well as the expectations of the audience. For example, in comparing Ovid's Ages—Golden, Silver, and Iron—with those of Hesiod, you might think about how Ovid adapted a story that was completely pessimistic to express his own view of the world: in some ways, it was a great time to live in the Roman Empire, though the regime repressed political freedom.

To help you put Ovid's work into context, the marginal notes identify the prevalent scientific theories in Ovid's time and show how he used them to make his story sound scientific, even though he was primarily interested in telling a good story.

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