Ovid’s 2001-year old, Metamorphoses, is a narrative poem describing the world from its beginning to Ovid’s time in Rome.  There are countless tales of transformation.  Arthur Golding says about this poem in his introduction to his translation nothing perishes. Each substance takes on another shape  The subject of the painting below by 19th-century French artist, Gustave Moreau, Jupiter & Semele, is a part of The Third Book.

Jupiter is the King of the Heavens and has a libido to match.  His Majesty targets Earthly babes.  He likes Semele, and eventually she gets pregnant.  Juno is Jove’s (aka Jupiter) sister and wife.  She’s a jealous type and doesn’t appreciate her brother/husband having yet another illicit liaison.  She disguises herself as Semele’s nurse, and goes to the wench’s house.

Don’t believe everything every stud says about himself.  If the father of your baby really is Jove, get him to prove it. Juno persuades Semele.

Later, Jove and Semele meet.  She wants the King of the Gods to prove his divine nature.

Jove: I’ll give you anything you want.  The grisly Stygian lake will be our witness.  Go ahead, Semele, anything.

Semele: I want you to make love to me the way you do it with Juno.

Jove (to himself): Shit.

Semele doesn’t know it yet but she signs her own death certificate because when the gods fuck it’s all lightning and thunder–literally.  Jupiter shags Semele the way he does with Juno and of course Semele roasts.  The baby is aborted and Dad places it on his thigh where it reaches full-term.

The baby is Bacchus, also known as Dionysus.  But that’s another tale.

When does English take-off to become the world language it is today?  When do the English remove that Latin snakeskin limiting its potential?  Many will answer with Shakespeare* but Arthur Golding’s translation of Metamorphoses is probably the bridge between England’s road to Rome, and Athens, and its linguistic dominance today worldwide.  The learned of Albion loved Rome but were more enamoured of London. Of the two Elizabeths so far only one of them has the attraction of the sun.

*Not to suggest “Shakespeare” wrote the sonnets, histories, comedies and tragedies.  http://www.amazon.com/Who-Wrote-Shakespeare-John-Michell/dp/0500281130

Gustave Moreau’s Jupiter & Semele.


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