You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

Ovid: Metamorphoses: Book 3

4. Further Subversion of Epic

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this final module, we explore the other ways in which Ovid disturbs and destablises the epic genre, looking in particular at the ambiguous geography of the Acoetes story (where are the pirates from?), the fact that the Pentheus story has no metamorphosis (or does it?), and the ambiguous figure of Acoetus himself (is he Dionsysus?), among other things.


In this course, we explore the prescribed section of Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Book 3.511-733). In particular, we think about the depiction of Pentheus and the humour contained in that episode, before exploring the many ways in which this section of the Metamorphoses undermines and destablises the conventional ethos of epic.


Llewelyn Morgan is a Classicist, a Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford. The focus of most of his research is Roman literature and culture, and he is the author of the well-received study of Roman poetic form, Musa Pedestris: Metre and Meaning in Roman Verse (Oxford, 2010).

But he also has a longstanding fascination for Afghanistan, contemporary and historical, which he traces to his discovery, at an impressionable age, of a Russian samovar inscribed “Candahar 1881”. He has made several visits to Afghanistan in recent years, and his most recent book, The Buddhas of Bamiyan (Profile Books and Harvard University Press, 2012), traces the history of these remarkable monuments from their Buddhist origins 1,400 years ago, through their celebrity in Islamic wonder literature and European travel writing, up until their destruction in 2001.

Morgan is a regular public speaker, on many aspects of Classics and Afghanistan, appears occasionally on BBC Radio 4, and writes slightly less occasionally for the Times Literary Supplement.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Morgan, L. (2018, August 15). Ovid: Metamorphoses: Book 3 - Further Subversion of Epic [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Morgan, Llewelyn. "Ovid: Metamorphoses: Book 3 – Further Subversion of Epic." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,

Get instant access to over 4,000 lectures