Volucres loquentes, volucres doctae. A proposito di Ovidio, Met. 2, 531-632

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The raven’s black plumage has a story behind it, which Ovid, following the Callimachean Hecale, retells in met. 2, 531-632 weaving it with the crow’s vicissitudes, initially Athena’s/Minerva’s loyal servant. The combination of the respective ornithological denominations and the names of the mythical characters recalled by the two volucres loquentes reveals all the erudition showed off by the poet in writing this literary piece. Following the pattern of the talking birds, Ovid endows both the raven and the crow with human language. The latter tries to exhort the former not to tell Apollo the truth about Coronis’ infidelity. By doing so, the raven would avoid paying the penalty for being loyal, a mistake that the crow already made when shetold her domina of the wickedness of Herse and Aglauros. By inverting the verbal tenses and the functions, Ovid makes this passage refer to and overturn many of the hints being in the Callimachus’ epillyon, from which he clearly draws inspiration, enriching it with other Callimachean loanwords and Aratean echoes.It is noteworthy that Ovid, again under the sign of theCallimachean Hecale, establishes a link between this episode and the story of Aglauros, told about eighty lines after, in an incessant dialogue between narrative prolepsis and analepsis.
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)105-132
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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