The literary genre of myths of transformations of men and women, heroes and nymphs, into stars see Catasterismi , plants and animals, or springs, rocks and mountains, were widespread and popular in the classical world. This work has more polished parallels in the better-known Metamorphoses of Ovid and in the Metamorphoses of Lucius Apuleius. In , with the rest of the Palatine Library, it was taken to Rome; in , to Paris, as part of Napoleonic plunder under the terms of the Treaty of Tolentino ; in , it was restored to Heidelberg. Many of the transformations in this compilation are found nowhere else, and some may simply be inventions of Antoninus. The manner of the narrative is a laconic and conversational prose: "this completely inartistic text," as Sarah Myers called it, [3] offers the briefest summaries of lost metamorphoses by more ambitious writers, such as Nicander and Boeus.

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Contact us Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses The Metamorphoses of Antoninus Liberalis, translated by Francis Celoria Routledge , still in copyright, permission requested from the publishers.

This text has tagged references to ancient places. Ctesylla , born on the island of Ceos , was daughter of Alcidamas and came from a family at Iulis.

At the Pythian feast Hermochares the Athenian saw her dancing round the altar of Apollo at Carthaea and fell in love with her. He wrote on an apple and threw it inside the sanctuary of Artemis. Ctesylla picked it up and read out what was on it.

Hermochares went to her father for her hand and received approval for the marriage. Her father swore an oath to Apollo about this, grasping a laurel tree. But after the period of the Pythian feast was over, Alcidamas forgot the oath he had sworn and betrothed his daughter to someone else.

The girl was already taking part in prenuptial sacrifices in the temple of Artemis. Angry at being thwarted of his marriage, Hermochares raced to the Artemisium.

Seeing him, the girl fell in love with him, as was divinely intended. With the help of her nurse she came to an understanding with him and, evading her father, sailed off by night to Athens where she married Hermochares. When Ctesylla gave birth to a child, she badly miscarried — by divine will — and died because her father had been false to his oath about her. They took her body and carried it away to prepare it for burial.

But a dove flew up from the bier and the body of Ctesylla disappeared. Hermochares went to consult the oracle and the god declared that he should set up at Iulis a temple in the name of Ctesylla.

He also enjoined the same to the people of Ceos. To this day the people of Iulis offer sacrifices, addressing her as Aphrodite Ctesylla , while others call her Ctesylla Hecaerge. Oineus , son of Portheus the son of Ares , was king of Calydon. Once, when he was sacrificing first-fruits on behalf of his country, he forgot about Artemis.

In her anger she set on them a savage boar that ravaged the land, slaying many. Then Meleager and the sons of Thestius assembled the flower of Greece against the boar. They arrived and slew the beast.

Meleager assigned the flesh of the boar to the heroes, keeping the head and the hide as his privilege. Because they had slain a boar sacred to her, Artemis was even more angry and inflicted discord among them. So the sons of Thestius and the other Curetes seized the hide declaring that it was the half-share of the perquisites due to them.

Meleager took it away from them forcibly and killed the sons of Thestius. Because of this war arose between the Curetes and the Calydonians. But Meleager did not go out to war, full of reproaches because his mother had put a curse on him for the killing of her brothers.

By this time the Curetes were just on the point of capturing the city when Cleopatra , his wife, persuaded Meleager to defend the Calydonians. He rose up against the army of the Curetes and himself died because his mother had burnt the brand which had been given to her by the Fates. For they had assigned him a stretch of life to last only as long as the brand.

The other sons of Oineus also died in battle. A great sorrow came upon the Calydonians because of Meleager. His sisters mourned continually at his tomb until Artemis touched them with her wand and changed them into birds which she settled on the isle of Leros , calling them Meleagrides.

It is said that up to now they make mourning for Meleager when the due season of the year comes. Two of the daughters of Althaea , Gorge and Deianira , were not changed, it is said, by the good will of Dionysus because Artemis granted this favour. He set up temples to Demeter and received plenteous harvests from her. But when the Teucrians omitted neglectfully to make sacrifices to Poseidon at the due season, the god became angry and destroyed the crops of the goddess.

And he set on them a prodigious monster that came out of the sea. Unable to endure the monster and the famine, the Teucrians sent a message to Hierax begging him to save them from the famine. He sent them barley as well as wheat and other foods. Poseidon , infuriated with Hierax for doing away with his prerogatives, turned him into a bird which to this day is called the hierax [hawk]. In making him disappear he also changed his character. He who had been greatly loved by mankind was made most hateful to birds.

He who had saved many of mankind from death was turned into a slaughterer of many a bird. This Cragaleus was at this time already an old man and was considered by his countrymen to be just and wise. While he was pasturing his cattle , Apollo , Artemis and Heracles introduced themselves to him since they wanted a decision about Ambracia in Epirus. Apollo said that the city belonged to him because Melaneus — his son — had become king of the Dryopes having taken in war the whole of Epirus.

Melaneus had as sons Eurytus and Ambracias, after whom the city of Ambracia is named. Apollo himself had shown great favour to this city. At his behest the Sisyphides had arrived to help the Ambracians win the war they had started against the Epirotes. It was because of his oracular answers that Gorgus , brother of Cypselus , led a settlement of colonists from Corinth to Ambracia.

Also, because of his oracles the Ambraciotes arose against Phalaecus , tyrant of the city. And as a result of this, Phalaecus lost many of his men. On the whole, though Apollo had many a time stirred up intestinal war, discord and factions in the city, he had also, in contrast, created order, law and justice, for which to this day he was lauded by Ambracians as the Pythian Saviour in feasts and ceremonies.

Artemis on her part was for keeping her dispute with Apollo within bounds, but claimed that she had acquired Ambracia with his consent. She wanted to have the city on the following argument. When Phalaecus had ruled as tyrant over the city, no one could kill him because they feared him. But it was she who one day made a lion cub appear before Phalaecus when he was hunting.

The moment he took it up into his hands, its mother raced out of the forest, fell on him and ripped open his chest. The Ambraciotes , having escaped his enslavement, made expiatory offerings to her as Artemis the Queen and set up an image of the Huntress by which they placed a bronze statue of the animal. Heracles in his turn put forward the argument that Ambracia and the whole of Epirus belonged to him. All the peoples that had made war with him, Celts , Chaonians , Thesprotians and all the Epirotes , had been defeated by him after they had formed an alliance to steal the cattle of Geryon.

Some time after, a settlement of colonists from Corinth had expelled the original settlers and founded Ambracia. All the Corinthians are descended from Heracles. Cragaleus heard these arguments through to the end and recognized that the city belonged to Heracles. Apollo became enraged, touched Cragaleus with his hand and turned him into a stone where he stood. The Ambraciotes sacrifice to Apollo as the Saviour , but they have acknowledged that the city was that of Heracles and his sons.

To this day they make sacrifices to Cragaleus after the feast of Heracles. The gods loved him for his piety and mortals because he was generous and just.

When he saw Timandre he fell in love with her. Learning that she was a widow with no man in her life, he won her over with money and visited her house regularly to make love. Neophron , son of Timandre , disapproved of this affair — he was the same age as Aegypius — and devised a trap for him.

Offering many presents to Bulis the mother of Aegypius , he seduced her and took her home to sleep with him. He had learned in advance at what hour Aegypius was accustomed to visit Timandre and found a pretext for keeping his own mother away from her house. In her place he brought into the house the mother of Aegypius , saying that he would return to her later, deceiving both. Aegypius , having no inkling of what Neophron was plotting against him, had intercourse with his mother, thinking she was Timandre.

When sleep overcame him, Bulis recognized her own son. She picked up a sword and was about to put out his eyes and then to kill herself when, by the will of Apollo , sleep let go its hold on Aegypius. Realizing what Neophron had plotted against him, he looked up to heaven and prayed that he should vanish — and all with him. Zeus turned them into birds. Aegypius and Neophron became vultures, each under the same name but different in size and colour. Neophron became the smaller kind of vulture.

Bulis became a heron and Zeus ordained that she was to eat nothing that grew out the ground and instead to feed on the eyes of fishes, birds and snakes , since she had been about to put out the eyes of her son Aegypius. Timandre he turned into a tit. And henceforth these birds never appeared together in the same spot. He ruled the men of old and was just, rich and pious. He made many sacrifices to Apollo and numerous were his fair judgments.

No one could reproach him with anything. His leadership was willingly accepted by all. Because of the pre-eminence of his good works, men took away honours due to Zeus and decided that they belonged to Periphas. They set up shrines and temples to him and addressed him by the name of Zeus the Saviour , the Overlooker of All and the Gracious. Zeus , indignant, wanted to incinerate the entire household of Periphas with a thunderbolt, but Apollo asked that he should not be utterly annihilated since he had been assiduously honoured by Periphas.

This Zeus granted to Apollo and he went on to the house of Periphas and came upon him when he was making love to his wife. He pressed both hands on him and turned him into a bird, an eagle. His wife asked Zeus to turn her into a bird too so that she would be a companion for Periphas. So he turned her into a vulture.


Antoninus Liberalis








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