Ovid's Metamorphoses have been seen to mark a culmination of the classical epic tradition and a revolutionary transferral of narrative interest from warfare to love and fantasy. This introduction considers how Ovid defined and shaped his narrative, its cultural context, and its vivid depictions of the cruelty of jealous gods, the pathos of human love, and the imaginative fantasy of flight, monsters, magic and illusion. Elaine Fantham provides a stimulating analysis of this marvellous and complex poem, and the traditions it built on and inspired.

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