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Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD

Primary Sources

Apollod. Apollod 1.7.4: Ceyx.
3.9.2: Atalanta.
Hyg. 65: Alcyone.
185: Atalanta’s Race.
Ov. Her. 18: Leander to Hero.
Her. 19: Hero to Leander.
Her. 20: Acontius to Cydippe.
Her. 21: Cydippe to Acontius.
Met. 4.55-166: Pyramus and Thisbe.
Met. 8.617-724: Baucis and Philemon.
Met. 9.441-665: Miletus and Byblis
Met. 9.666-797: Iphis and Ianthe.
Met. 10.560-707: Atalanta and Hippomenes.
Met. 11.410-748: Ceyx and Alcyone.

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Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD

Secondary Sources


Boccaccio, Giovanni (1313–1375). De mulieribus claris. (“Concerning Famous Women”). Poem. Includes Pyramus and Thisbe.

Chaucer, Geoffrey (1340? –1400). The Legende of Goode Women. Poem. Includes “The Legend of Thisbe.”

Gunn, Thom. “Philemon and Baucis,” in Nina Kossman, ed. Gods and Mortals: Modern Poems on Classical Myths. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. 123.

Hunt, Leigh (1784–1859). “Hero and Leander.” Poem.

Komanyakaa, Yusef. “Pyramus and Thisbe.” Talking Dirty to the Gods. New York:  Farrar, 2000. 57.

Petrarch (1304–1374). Il trionfo dell’Amore (“The Triumph of Love”). Poem. The story of Pyramus and Thisbe is included in Part Three.

Shakespeare, William (1564–-1616). A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Play. Includes a play of Pyramus and Thisbe.

The Story of Troilus, as told by Benoît de Sainte-Maure (Le Roman de Troie), Giovanni Boccacio (Il Filostrato), Geoffrey Chaucer (Troilus and Criseyde), and Robert Henryson, (The Testament of Cresseid), translations and introduction by R.K. Gordon. Medieval Academy Reprints for Teaching 2. Toronto and Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1978.

Swinburne, Algernon Charles (1837–1909). Atalanta in Calydon. Play.

Tennyson, Alfred, Lord (1809–1892). “Hero and Leander.” Poem.


Bremmer, Jan, ed. Interpretations of Greek Mythology. London: Routledge, 1998.

Buxton, Richard. Forms of Astonishment: Greek Myths of Metamorphosis. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Edmunds, Lowell, ed. Approaches to Greek Myth. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990.

Fantham, Elaine. Ovid’s Metamorphoses. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Forbes-Irving, P. M. C. Metamorphosis in Greek Myths. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Galinsky, G. Karl. Ovid’s Metamorphoses: An Introduction to the Basic Aspects. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975.

Martindale, Charles, ed. Ovid Renewed: Ovidian Influences on Literature and Art from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988. A collection of essays on different aspects of the afterlife in Ovid’s conception.

Otis, Brooks. Ovid as an Epic Poet, 2d ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1970 [1966].

Sandys, George. Ovid’s Metamorphosis. Oxford, 1632. Online version, edited by Daniel Kinney, available from the University of Virginia’s e-text program, The Renaissance Reception of Ovid in Image and Text.

Wilkinson, L. P. Ovid Recalled. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1955. Abridged paperback, Ovid Surveyed. After 50 years this is still the most urbane discussion of Ovid’s poetry in any language.

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Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD


Bottesini, Giovanni (1821–1889). Overture to Ero e Leandro. Bottesini, vol. 3. ASV CD DCA 907. London Symphony Orchestra, cond. Petracchi. From the composer’s greatest opera. Of interest is the inclusion of the overture to his Ali Baba.

Britten, Benjamin (1913–1976). A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Opera. Harwood et al. London Symphony Orchestra, cond. Britten. London 435663-2. The Pyramus and Thisbe scene is included.

———. Six Metamorphoses after Ovid, for solo oboe. Various artists. Oboe Classics. The metamorphoses are Phaethon, Pan, Niobe, Bacchus, Narcissus, and Arethusa.

Clérambault, Louis-Nicolas (1676–1749). Léandre et Héro. Cantata for solo voice and orchestra. Mythologie: Cantates Françaises. Forget and L’Ensemble Arion. Analekta AN 28050. Also includes Orphée, Campra’s Arion, and de Montéclair’s Pan et Syrinx.

Dittersdorf, Carl Ditters von (1793–1799). Six Symphonies after Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Cantelina, cond. Shepherd. Chandos CHAN 8564/65. The symphonies are subtitled “The Four Ages of Man,” “The Fall of Phaëthon,” “The Transformation of Actaeon into a Stag,” “The Rescuing of Andromeda by Perseus,” “The Petrification of Phineus and His Friends,” and “The Transformation of the Lycian Peasants into Frogs.”

Fiocchi, Vincenzo (1767–1843). Piramo e Tisbe. Cantata. Belfiore and Facini. La Magnifica Comunità, cond. Correa. Bongiovanni GB 5105-2.

Guettel, Adam. “Pegasus” and “Hero and Leander.” Rock songs. Myths and Hymns. Various artists. Nonesuch 79530-2. Other songs include “Saturn Returns with Reprise,” “Icarus,” and “Sisyphus.”

Handel, George Frideric (1685–1759). Ero e Leandro. Cantata. Zádori. Concerto Armonico, cond. Németh. Italian Cantatas. Brilliant Classics 99958.

Hasse, Johann Adolf (1699–1783). Piramo e Tisbe. Opera. Schlick et al. Capella Clementina, cond. Müller-Brühl. Koch/Schwann 3-1088-2; La Stagione, cond. Schneider. Capriccio 60 043-2.

Herbert, Victor (1859–1924). Hero and Leander. Symphonic poem. Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, cond. Maazel. Sony SK 52491. Beautifully expressive.

Kellogg, Daniel (1976–). Pyramus and Thisbe, for narrator and orchestra. Patrick Mason and Univetsity of Colorado String Symphony, cond. McMurray. Klavier. The libretto by Mark O’Donnell is a one actor version of Shakespeare’s play within a play. This 21 minute piece is in a collection of works by contemporary composers.

Lampe, John Frederick (ca. 1703–1751). Pyramus and Thisbe. A mock opera. Padmore and Bisatt. Opera Restor’d, cond. Holman. Hyperion CDA66759. The text is taken from Shakespeare.

Lanier, Nicholas (1588–1666). “Hero and Leander.” Kirby and Rooley, Classical Kirkby (Orpheus and Corinna). BIS-CD-1435. This album devoted to 17th century songs on classical themes, arranged for soprano and lute, includes works about Orpheus by Greene, Lawes, and Boyce and also Sappho and Ancreon.

Marais, Marin (1656–1728). Alcyone. Opera inspired by the legend of Alcyone and Ceyx. Smith et al. Les Musiciens du Louvre, cond. Minkowski. Erato 2292-45522-2.

Ravel, Maurice (1875–1937). Alcyone. Cantata. “Air d’Alcyone.” Excerpt from a cantata. Atger, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, cond. Constant. Valois V 4644.

Zingarelli, Niccolò (1752–1837). Cantatas (monologues for soprano and orchestra). Il Nuotator D’Abido (“The Swimmer of Abydos”) and Ero. Nizza. Orchestra d’Archi Opera Barga, cond. Loprieno. Agorá AG 225. Inspired by the story of Hero and Leander. Includes Didone and the setting of a poem about love by Metastasio, Amor Timido.

———. Il Nuotator D’Abido (The Swimmer of Abydos) and Ero. Cantatas for soprano and orchestra. Nizza and the Orchestra d’Archi Opera Barga, cond. Loprieno. Agorá Musica AG 225. Two cantatas about Leander and Hero. Also includes Didone.

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Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD


Britten, Benjamin (1913–1976).  A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Opera. Felicity Lott, Ileana Cotrubas, James Bowman, et al. London Philharmonic, cond. Bernard Haitink. Glyndebourne Opera production staged by Peter Hall. Kultur. The Pyramus and Thisbe scene is included.

Fun with the Fab Four. Goodtimes 9015. A documentary on the Beatles, including a comedy sketch in which Paul McCartney and John Lennon play Pyramus and Thisbe.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The movie of Max Reinhardt’s production of Shakespeare’s play with James Cagney as Pyramus and Joe E. Brown as Thisbe. MGM/UA Home Video M202543. Also available on DVD is a generally acclaimed performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by The Royal Shakespeare Company, directed by Peter Hall, with an all-star cast including Diana Rigg.

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