TREMULOQUE GRADU VENIT AEGRA SENECTUS: OLD AGE IN OVID'S METAMORPHOSES

in Mnemosyne
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Abstract

Although aging is not a metamorphosis stricto sensu, it is a process that affects the shape of the body. This paper explores the ambivalent representation of old age and its interplay with the ostensible theme of Ovid's encyclopedic poem on bodies changing shapes. Aging in the Metamorphoses is mainly a physiological process, which affects men and women alike, but may be reversed by means of magic. It is also one of the trappings of divinity: gods and goddesses often disguise themselves as old women, in order to deceive or advise humans. Even the poem's narrator, 'Ovid', frequently assumes the persona of the elderly in an act of self-transformation.

Mnemosyne

A Journal of Classical Studies

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