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Catalog Archive / Spring 2024

Rival Praises
Ovid and the Metamorphosis of the Hymnic Tradition

Wisconsin Studies in Classics Imprint

“Campbell effortlessly and playfully handles an impressive array of critical tools to argue most convincingly that Ovid’s Metamorphoses is a hymn to divine appropriation. The analysis is pressed into exhaustive detail and in her brilliant readings, Campbell displays a sustained ingenuity that is well matched to the endlessly inventive and cunningly allusive Ovid.”
—Ioannis Ziogas, author of Law and Love in Ovid: Courting Justice in the Age of Augustus

Reading Callimachus as a key to unlocking Ovid’s poetic cosmos

The Metamorphoses, written by the Roman poet Ovid, has fascinated readers ever since it was written in the first century CE, and here Celia Campbell offers a bold new interpretive approach. Reasserting the significance of the ancient hymnic tradition, she argues that the first pentad of Ovid’s Metamorphoses draws a programmatic strain of influence from hymns to the gods, in particular conversation—and competition—with the work of the Alexandrian poet Callimachus, a favored source of inspiration to Augustan writers. She suggests that Ovid read Callimachus’ six hymns as a self-conscious set—and reading the first five books of the Metamorphoses through Callimachus’ hymnic collection allows us to pierce the occasionally opaque and seemingly idiosyncratic mythology Ovid constructs. Through careful, innovative close readings, Campbell illustrates that Callimachus and the hymnic tradition provide a kind of interpretative key to unlocking the dynamic landscape of divine power in Ovid’s poetic cosmos.


Celia M. Campbell is an assistant professor of classics at Emory University.




“This erudite study offers an elegant demonstration of Ovid’s debts to the classical hymnic tradition, especially Callimachus’ collection, in the early books of his Metamorphoses. Highly recommended.”
—Alison Keith, author of Virgil



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Table of Contents


Introduction: The Nature of Praise
1 Amorphous Control? Resolving the Question of Cosmic Authority within the World of the Metamorphoses
2 Divining Praise: Jupiter, Apollo, and Poetic Primacy
3 Rivaled Affection and Affectation: Diana, Apollo, and Delian Disguise
4 Ovid’s Lavacrum Dianae: The Huntress Muse of the Metamorphoses
5 The Hymnic Battle for Helicon: Reflections over Contested Grounds
6 Calliope’s Hymn: Musing on the Nature of Love
Conclusion: Amor’s Winged Words
Works Cited


Of Related Interest


Ovid’s “Heroides” and the Augustan Principate
Megan O. Drinkwater


Silenced Voices
The Poetics of Speech in Ovid
Bartolo A. Natoli

Rival Praises: cover depicting a painting of cupid pointing an arrow at an archer with a halo.

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July 2024
344 pp. 6 x 9

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Cloth $99.95 S
ISBN 9780299348748
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