Metamorphoses Book XIII. Edited by N. Hopkinson.
Cambridge University Press, 2000. IX,252p. Paperback. Series: Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics. The heart of the Introduction lies in the detailed analyses of the sources of the myths Ovid narrates in Met. 13. H. offers brief summarises of each episode followed by full discussion of the literary and artistic traditions on which Ovid draws. Here, and in many individual notes in the commentary, H.'s strengths as a commentator on Ovid come sharply into focus: his deep knowledge of Greek literature enables him to demonstrate, again and again, Ovid's own consummate mastery of the Greek literary traditions which he transmutes into Roman poetry. As a Hellenist H. pays close attention not only to Homer and the tragic playwrights but also to the epic cycle and the rhetorical schools, and he is always sensitive to the nuances which a similarly careful reader of Greek literature such as Ovid might be expected to hear. H.'s attention to Greek rhetoric, in particular, supplies a context for his discussion of the impact of Ovid's rhetorical training in the Metamorphoses, a standard feature of commentaries on Ovid that generally goes unrelated to the literary traditions, both Greek and Roman, that inform Ovidian poetry. While the focus in these surveys of the work's sources is on the Greek mythological background, H. does full justice to the impact of Latin epic, tragic and rhetorical conventions on the shape of the poem, and he frequently cites Vergil and the Roman rhetorical writers. The volume thus offers an excellent introduction to current scholarly interest in allusion and intertextuality in Ovidian studies, and especially to the question of Ovid as a reader of Vergil.12 H. is not as interested in issues of genre and genre-blending, which have been central to Ovidian scholarship since Heinze's seminal study of 1919.13 He offers no explicit analysis in the Introduction of the role generic conventions play in shaping Ovid's use of sources, although many individual notes in the commentary will be fruitfully employed in such analysis by others. H. has established his own (very readable) text and apparatus criticus on the basis of the work of earlier editors and, conveniently, he has been able to consult R.J. Tarrant's forthcoming OCT edition of the Metamorphoses in advance of publication. H. gives only the merest summary of the text and transmission of the poem but refers the reader to Tarrant's standard discussion of the issues14 and has explained his own editorial practices succinctly. Although he keeps textual notes to a minimum in the commentary, he occasionally addresses textual problems and is always scrupulously clear, concise and fair in outlining the problem and his preference for its solution. The commentary itself is admirably lucid and judicious, and will constitute a helpful introduction not only to Met. 13 but also to many areas of current scholarly interest in the Metamorphoses as a whole and Ovidian poetry more generally. The care and attention H. devotes to Ovid's use of sources, allusion and intertextuality in the Introduction continues to be a prominent focus in his notes. (...) The richness of the literary discussion on offer here make this an important contribution to Ovidian studies which will prove indispensable for teaching and research alike.' (ALISON KEITH in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2001.11.02).