During the time of Augustus, Greek literature and myths were highly influential throughout the Roman world. In particular, Ovid, a Roman poet born in 43 BC, retells and adjusts much of Greek mythology in a humorous yet personal style to suit himself and his audiences (Plant 2012, p. 298). A close comparison of Ovid and Hesiod calls for similarities and differences in their accounts of the human races. In Book I of the Metamorphoses, Ovid accounts four “Ages of Humankind”. He begins with the Golden Ages, where he describes to be a time of purity in humanity and the fertile land continues to prosper throughout “everlasting spring” (Ovid, Metamorphoses 1: 89-12). This period was known to be the climax of ‘peace and quiet’ on Earth as there were no warfare or negative qualities in human emotions. With the overruling of Saturn by Jupiter, his ascension was the beginning of The Silver Age as Ovid asserts. It was in this age that crops were planted and humans emerged from their cave homes to built homes of wood and bark (Ovid, Metamorphoses 1:121-124). Additionally, Ovid provides an aetiological explanation of the four seasons through the actions of Jupiter. The Bronze and Iron Age succeeded the Silver age, existing quite simultaneously. Cruelty in humanity influenced their submission to warfare, while by the time the Iron Age came, this worsened with ‘malicious evil’ roaming the land and the disappearance of ‘restraint, piety and truth’ (Ovid, Metamorphoses 1: 125-141). Hesiod’s influence over Ovid is clear, with the exception of a fifth race in Hesiod’s account. Both authors account for the evolution of humanity and the transformation of the social and psychological structure with the use of metals as a metaphor (Kegan, 1982 pp.1). Ovid’s reflects spiritual and moral characteristics of humanity, as did Hesiod; common qualities present in both Rome and Greece (Nelson and Grene et al., 1998). As each stage of the world emerges, Ovid demonstrates...
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