(Ovid, Metamorphoses 8,183-235)

Originally published in: L'Antiquité Classique LXIII, 1994, p.137-160 by Marjorie Hoefmans (1)

Survey of the different interpretations of Daedalus' metamorphosis See also notes 1-11
The homo faber and hybris theme - thematic elements
The homo faber and hybris theme - Ovid's narrative treatment
The Lucretian background - Lucretian elements
The Lucretian background - Ovid's narrative treatment
Conclusion: this Ovidian tale transforms myth into reality (it is a report on human progress)


Opinions about the nature of the metamorphosis in the myth of Daedalus and Icarus in Ovid's Metamorphoses are divided.

Some commentators argue that it does not contain a metamorphosis. Of those one proposes an explanation for Ovid's inconsequence (in inserting a non-metamorphosis story) with the external argument of 'tradition' (2); others, explicitly or implicitly, just state that nothing in the text resembles the model of an Ovidian metamorphosis (which constitutes an 'internal' argument) (3) .

Of those critics who do find a metamorphosis in the myth some suggest Daedalus is metamorphosed into a bird (4) , others interpret the metamorphosis as metaphorical (5) and still another argues that Daedalus adopts a godlike condition (6) . Most of the critics in this second group signal programmatic phrases that indicate a metamorphosis (7) .

Yet the thesis of a metamorphosis into a bird seems hardly defendable (8) . Daedalus and Icarus never become birds, even when flying, nor do they wish to be birds: rather they wish to escape from Crete (9) . As to the argument that imitetur (line 195) would denote a real metamorphosis (10) one must observe that an imitation is not the real thing; moreover, the line does not pertain to the person of Daedalus but to the building of the wings, which are merely tools, "separate" from Daedalus' body and inanimate in character. The metamorphoses in the Metamorphoses of an inanimate object into an animate life form produce a whole body and not a part of it (cf. the myth of Pygmalion, Deucalion and Pyrrha, etc.). Yet the wing theme and Daedalus and Icarus flying indeed fit into a general 'transformational' atmosphere (11) .

In the commentaries which opt for a 'metaphorical' metamorphosis it never becomes quite clear how such a metamorphosis should be understood: the argumentation remains in the stage of assumptions, with little or no internal textual arguments.

Still one may find, to our mind, internal evidence that points to a metamorphosis in Daedalus and Icarus. This internal evidence may be provided by the analysis of the device of allusion in the Icarus story and present a likely interpretation of the metamorphosis. Since Ovid's version of the tale of Daedalus and Icarus is the first dramatized narrative extant (12) , the allusions may partly be deduced from a comparison of the Metamorphoses tale with Ovid's own earlier version (Ars Amatoria 2.17-98). Allusions to passages in his Metamorphoses, and in Horace, Vergil and Lucretius add to the interpretation. (13)

Two themes coincide in the Icarus myth: the homo faber and the hybris theme. These, together with a general 'Lucretian atmosphere', give, as we will argue, the clue to a possible interpretation of the metamorphosis of Daedalus and Icarus: as a change of the human psyche. Indeed there is no metamorphosis, literally speaking. But psychologically there certainly is - in some essential points - though not all - different from the 'classic' Ovidian metamorphosis as defined for instance by Daspet (14) . This metamorphosis offers a metaphor for another 'metamorphosis': that of myth into reality.


a. The thematic elements.

The body of the text invites comparison with the similar Icarus myth in Ovid's ArsAmatoria. A first look makes clear that Ovid has 'omitted' quite a few lines in the Metamorphoses version. It seems unlikely, though, that Ovid would choose a myth out of convention (the 'repertoire' argument) and dispose of it quickly because he had gotten bored with it (15) . Moreover, the Metamorphoses myth presents several additions which endorse a different scope of narrative (16) . The care with which Ovid constructed the framework and distributed the content of the Metamorphoses leads one to believe that the Metamorphoses version was intentionally meant to be different (17) . Generic reasons may account for a great deal of the differences, but for a reader with the Ars version in mind an omission may also have the same suggestive power as any actual allusion to a well known passage.

The significance of one omission for understanding the background of Daedalus' and Icarus' metamorphosis presents itself in a comparison of two passages:

restat iter caeli: caelo temptabimus ire.	
	da veniam coepto, Iuppiter alte, meo.		
non ego sidereas adfecto tangere sedes;		
	qua fugiam dominum, nulla nisi ista via est.	
per Styga detur iter, Stygias transnabimus undas;
	sunt mihi naturae iura novanda meae. 
					(A.A. 2.37-42) caelum certe patet; ibimus illac!		
omnia possideat, non possidet aera Minos.		
dixit et ignotas animum dimittit in artes			
naturamque novat. 	 		(Met. 8.186-9)

The Daedalus of the Ars is not sure his endeavour will meet with success (he will try to go by air) and he asks Jupiter forgiveness for his audacity to trespass the realm of the gods; it is no hybris on his part, he argues, but necessity: in order to be free he has to 'stretch' the natural bounds of his human condition. The Daedalus of the Metamorphoses assertively just states that he will go by air and asks no forgiveness, does not excuse himself.
He simply carries out his plan, as Ovid says matter-of-factly: naturamque novat (18) .

By omitting Daedalus' prayer to Jupiter, Ovid indicates the classic sense of the myth: it is a hybris story. A reader who is familiar with 'mythological ethics' immediately understands that the Daedalus of the Metamorphoses has outlawed himself by not asking Jupiter's forgiveness for embarking upon two activities which belong to divine territory: facilitating an 'unnatural' change in the condition of a human being and daring to go in the heavens where gods and birds alone are supposed to dwell. This Daedalus has placed himself in the ranks of the other defiers of the gods who populate the mythical and literary tradition. So the reader expects him to be punished severely, as happens so frequently in the Metamorphoses. This, combined with the fact that Daedalus is an artisan, makes the hybris theme coincide with another well known theme, a topic of philosophical controversy: the homo faber (19) .

The main features of this controversy present themselves as instances of conceptions of life that seem to be of all times: conservative, progressive, moderate. The topic of discussion is the question of humankind's place in the world. Should human beings live as the people of the Golden Age, taking what Earth offers without ever forcing it out of her? The sola natura dictum of the Cynics represents this conservative attitude: nature provides everything one needs, the use of tools makes one into their slave (20) . The Cynics reacted in this against the Sophists' view that technology grants victory over a hostile nature (21) . The homo faber theme, as it came to Ovid, can be traced back through Hellenistic literature (22) and Greek tragedy (23) to Hesiod who gives a full treatment in the Prometheus myth (24) and in the myth of the Ages (25) . Prometheus in his hybris gives fire and by implication technology to humankind; Zeus' punishment consists of labor and hardship which humanity will have to endure in order to survive. In the Silver Age tools are now requisite, whereas the Golden Age people lived in paradise.

In Roman literature the attitude to the controversy may be characterized as a compromise: certain tools are permitted to humankind by Jupiter himself in the Silver Age, by which the soil can be cultivated and cattle raised, but only through hard labor (26) . Other tools, however, actualize the suggestion of doing violence to nature (27) . Building wings to fly decidedly belongs to the latter category (28) .

In the Icarus account in Metamorphoses 8 Ovid explicitly points to the nature of Daedalus' skills and artefacts as alien to 'normal' human territory: 'ignotas animum dimittit in artes' (line 189) and 'et ignotas umeris accomodat alas' (line 209).

Both these ignotas passages and the absence of any apology of Daedalus to the gods constitute an allusion of a general topical nature, easily understandable by the reader as an indication of hybris. Two passages, though, seem to offer specific allusions for someone who knows Ovid's work well: the passage with the word opifex (line 201) and that with the spectators in lines 217-220:

hos aliquis, tremula dum captat harundine pisces,
aut pastor baculo stivave innixus arator		
vidit et obstipuit, quique aethera carpere possent,
credidit esse deos. 
Opifex occurs in only one other place in the Metamorphoses, to denote the creator of the world, the origin of a better world (opifex rerum, mundi melioris origo, 1.79) (29) . In calling Daedalus by such an august name, Ovid seems to suggest that his creation of a tool with which a human being can fly is of the same order as the creation and the start of a better world. The passage of the spectators seems to corroborate this impression: they, in their normal 'habitat', are flabbergasted when they see people flying in the sky and their only explanation is that they must be gods (30) . Again a comparison with the Ars version reveals a significant difference: in the Metamorphoses the sole onlooker of the Ars, a fisherman, is joined by a farmer and a shepherd. They represent the prototypes of the Silver Age people (31) (users of tools allowed by Jupiter), meant in the first book of the Metamorphoses with

semina tum primum longis Cerealia sulcis		
obruta sunt, pressique iugo gemuere iuvenci. ( Met . 1.123-4)
So in lines 217-20 Ovid concisely presents the old homo faber controversy, as the onlookers are set within the same scene with Daedalus and Icarus, not only 'choreographically' but also essentially as the users of allowed tools in contrast with the homo faber who has crossed the line by venturing into the realm of the gods (32) .

b. Ovid's narrative treatment of the themes.

Paradox, together with irony, is one of the devices with which Ovid masterly spices his Metamorphoses. The subtle manner in which allusion, irony and paradox are interwoven in his narrative produced for the contemporary reader an exciting new way in which the old traditional myths and themes could be interpreted. So, while a 'surface' reading of the Icarus myth might fulfill completely the expectations of the myth lover by presenting all the well known themes, the fact that Ovid wrote it makes us cast a second look and discover quite a few Ovidian side-notes to the tradition. This becomes clear in Ovid's handling of the hybris theme.
In the scene after the testing of the wings by Daedalus, the opifex adresses his son:

Instruit et natum 'Medio' que 'ut limite curras,
Icare', ait, 'moneo, ne, si demissior ibis,
unda gravet pennas, si celsior, ignis adurat.
Inter utrumque vola.' 				(Met .8.203-6)
So the testing of the wings, symbol that the act of hybris will be perpetrated, is thus set in contrast with a scene of moderation (the theme of aurea mediocritas). The irony of the scene seems to lie in the shift in character of Daedalus: Daedalus of all people, as a model of moderation, warns his son to keep the middle course and to stay away from all excessiveness, while he himself in the preceding lines broke the rules through his audacity in making unallowed tools and his intention to take to the sky (33) .

Yet another psychological shift is effected in the following lines by the worry of Daedalus-the-father, set in sharp contrast with the self-contained Daedalus some lines earlier. These rather abrupt changes in the psychology of Daedalus impart a sketchy quality to the narrative, still remain plausible through the overlapping of the artisan and father figure in the intervening warning scene, which contains a very powerful allusion to the Phaethon myth in the second book of the Metamorphoses. There Phoebus Apollo, also as a father, instructs his son in almost the same words: medio tutissimus ibis (2.137) and inter utrumque tene (2.140) (34) . Also the argument, with which Phoebus tries to convince Phaethon that he is his son, is his worry (2.91-4), e.g. patrio pater esse metu probor (2.92) and patrias curas (2.94), which matches patriae tremuere manus (Met. 8.211). Irony is hidden in the allusive comparison of Daedalus to the god Apollo, for this is the god of the Sun, whose destructive power will cause Icarus' downfall. The allusion, however, maintains the image of Daedalus, a human being, as acting on a divine level.

So far the full focus of attention has been on Daedalus. Nevertheless the real 'star' of the story is Icarus with his dramatic downfall. Tension has been built up throughout the narrative to respond to the reader's anticipation: Icarus is ignarus sua se tractare pericla when playing with the feathers (8.196); there are dangers ahead which might cause the wings to malfunction if one does not follow a middle course (8.204-5); Daedalus gives his son kisses non iterum repetenda (8.212), and finally the narrator declares that the flying technique will cause doom (damnosas, 8.215), another allusion to the homo faber theme. Still Icarus is not 'guilty' in this respect, but he definitely is in his lack of moderation, for he is, as Ovid says, caeli cupidine tractus (8.224). The phrase is programmatic for the hybris theme and a clear allusion to the Horatian Ode 1, 3.37-40 (35) :

	Nil mortalibus ardui est; 
caelum ipsum petimus  stultitia neque
	per nostrum patimur scelus
iracunda Iovem ponere fulmina(36) . 
After these carefully dosed prospective narrative elements the outcome does not fall short of the reader's expectation: Icarus meets with his death, a truly tragic one, because objectively he did wrong, but subjectively he was innocent of any challenge of the gods.
Again this familiar plot, with its inevitable outcome in the mythological sense, suggested by Ovid through the allusions just mentioned, is unsettled in a very subtle manner. While in the Ars Icarus' downfall is caused by his coming too close to the Sun god (vincla labant et cera deo propiore liquescit ; 2.85), in the Metamorphoses the god has vanished and Icarus' death is caused by the stellar body of the sun (rapidi et vicinia solis mollit odoratas, pennarum vincula, ceras ; 8.225-6). In a godless environment, hybris does not make sense. In consequence there is no condition for a metamorphosis through punishment (37) .

A second paradox is found in the manner in which Ovid develops his Daedalus character. As earlier argued, the Daedalus of the Ars avoids the odium of committing a deed of hybris through his lengthy excuse to Jupiter. Daedalus of the Metamorphoses however is clearly represented as not even thinking of excusing himself. He self-consciously sets about to execute his plan and produces a tool of hybris. Yet, though having been depicted by Ovid as the prototype of a defier of the divine laws (38) , it turns out that he commits his deed with impunity. The dreadful loss of his son cannot be seen, within the Icarus story, as a punishment of a father (as Niobe was punished through the death of her children) because the necessary 'punishing agent' is absent (39) . The psychological dichotomy of the Daedalus character is maintained by Ovid right to the end of the story: in the Ars the story ends with feelings of sorrow of Daedalus-the-father, while in the Metamorphoses the last focus is cast upon not only the feelings of Daedalus-the-father but also the homo faber. His tool proved inadequate for the safety of his son, so he curses his craft (devovitque suas artes corpusque sepulcro condidit ; 8.234-5). The passage has been interpreted as an acknowledgment of Daedalus, at last, of the superiority of the gods (40) . This again would mean a strong paradox in view of the general absence of gods in the myth and in particular in view of the psychology of Daedalus. It certainly is, to our mind, an ironical allusion to Vergil's lines on Daedalus (Aen. 6.18-9):

Redditus his primum terris tibi, Phoebe, sacravit          
remigium alarum posuitque immania templa. 
Irony indeed, because it seems incongruous that Daedalus should dedicate his wings to the same deity that was the agent of his son's destruction (41) . Devovit in this respect is more likely to be interpreted as the opposite of sacravit . The seeming incongruities, quoted above, which arise when one interprets the myth from a traditional point of view (within the framework of 'mythological ethics'), vanish and a coherent interpretation arises when the myth is seen from a Lucretian angle, as will be argued in the next section.


The uniqueness of the Icarus myth in the whole of the Metamorphoses may best be described negatively: no gods, no magic. This general outlook is accentuated through contrast with the two other Daedalus stories in the Metamorphoses . They flank the Icarus myth in book 8 and have gods and magic unequivocally present (42) . This alternating sequence is typical of what has been called the 'dialogue' or 'polyphony' of the Metamorphoses (43) .

The absence of divine interaction in human life is likely to be Ovid's way of giving the Daedalus story a certain philosophical atmosphere, derived from a poet Ovid greatly admired: Lucretius (44) . Commentators agree in their observation that Ovid had no 'philosophical mind', but applied philosophical theories where appropriate for his subject (45) . So, far from being a fervent partisan of a philosophical doctrine as Lucretius was, Ovid liked to play with the theories and see how they looked in a certain setting (46) .

Studies have shown that the Metamorphoses, though thoroughly different in concept from the De Rerum Natura , contains a very impressive amount of Lucretian reminiscences (47) . Some stories lend themselves better for Lucretian coloring than others, as Anton Zingerle puts it: "Dass solche Anklänge überhaupt da sehr häufig begegnen, wo die ovidischen Gedichte ebenfalls Physikalisches behandeln [-], ist von vorneherein klar (48) ." The Daedalus and Icarus myth lends itself perfectly for a Lucretian setting in this respect, since it is a homo faber story and accordingly has to do with the 'physics' of the artes .

a. The Lucretian elements

In the Icarus myth Ovid has removed every divine presence, as argued above. Also in the Lucretian world the gods are absent (DRN 5.146-7):

Illud item non est ut possis credere, sedes     	
esse deum sanctas in mundi partibus ullis. 
They may live somewhere in an intermundia , but are not interested in what happens on earth (49) , because they differ in one essential characteristic from the human race: their invulnerability: nam privata dolore omni, privata periclis (DRN 2.649); at non sunt immortali ulla pericla (DRN 3.775). Pericla is the always present danger of destruction [ruina (50) ] in human life. An allusion to this Lucretian notion seems present in Ovid's description of the young Icarus, who in his innocence plays with his own pericla, the feathers of the wings (8.195-8): 'puer Icarus una stabat et, ignarus sua se tractare pericla, [-] captabat plumas'. Indeed the falling apart of the wings will cause Icarus' death. That pericla is not the only Lucretian element in this passage we will look into later.

Of course there is one mention of the gods in the Icarus myth, the passage, already commented upon, of the onlookers. It was argued that Ovid very concisely presented the homo faber controversy here. A comparison with the Ars version seems to corroborate the view, that the opposition of the 'liberated' and the 'credulous' people in the Metamorphoses was willed by Ovid: in the Ars the narrator assumes the identity of the spectator, when he asks 'quis crederet umquam aërias hominem carpere posse vias?' (2,43-4). In the Metamorphoses version the narrator, as a neutral party, presents both opponents from an outsider's view. The onlookers now come to the conclusion that they are looking at gods (8.217-220):

hos aliquis, tremula dum captat harundine pisces,		
aut pastor baculo stivave innixus arator		
vidit et obstipuit, quique aethera carpere possent,		
credidit esse deos . 
This seems a clear allusion to Lucretius (DRN 6.60-64) (51) :
		                    praesertim rebus in illis          
quae supera caput aetheriis cernuntur in oris,          
rursus in antiquas referuntur religiones 		 
et dominos acris adsciscunt, omnia posse 		
quos miseri credunt, ignari quid queat esse 
The credulous people are ignorant of what may be possible in this world (52) . The flight of Daedalus, presented as a matter of fact, is one of those possible things.
The world, in which Daedalus will venture his exploit is defined, in Daedalus' own words in the first lines of the story (Met. 8.185-6), by the Epicurean trias, land-water-air (53) :
		   'terras licet', inquit,'et undas          
obstruat, at caelum certe patet; ibimus illac.'  
Ovid himself characterizes Lucretius' work in terms of this triad (54) in Tristia 2.425 :
Explicat ut causas rapidi Lucretius ignis              
	casurumque triplex  vaticinatur opus  
Throughout the story they are mentioned again and again, not simply as picturesque details, but as essential elements in the development of the narrative. The air is the temporary habitat of father and son and its physical properties are indispensable for the mechanism of flying, as will be argued later (55) . The sea is at first a barrier to be faced and its physical properties may cause danger (56) as does the fire of the sun (57) . The land is the familiar habitat or a prison, stages on the route to freedom and the final resting place of Icarus (58) . Daedalus, characterized as the homo faber in the following lines (188-9), goes about his task in the true Lucretian sense:
dixit et ignotas animum dimittit in artes		
naturamque novat. Nam ponit in ordine pennas
He renews nature, because he creates an ordo (59) . That is the way in which things have been created, by perpetual change of order in nature (DRN 5.184-94):
quove modost umquam vis cognita principiorum		
quidque inter sese permutato ordine possent,		
si non ipsa dedit specimen natura creandi? 		
(the movement of atoms cause these changes) 		
ut non sit mirum si in talis disposituras
deciderunt quoque et in talis venere meatus,		
qualibus rerum geritur nunc summa novando haec.   (60)
Novare is the creation of a new order. In Met. 15.252 Ovid calls nature 'rerum novatrix' in a passage which matches a Lucretian passage on 'natura creatrix' (61) . Another Lucretian characterization of nature irresistibly, through the choice of words, calls forth the image of Daedalus as a creator: 'natura daedala rerum' (5.234). The reason why Daedalus embarks upon his venture is clear from the beginning. He has come to hate his present situation ('Creten longumque perosus exsilium - clausus erat pelago') and wants to change it ('tactusque loci natalis amore - caelum certe patet. Ibimus illac'). The condition for the creation of a new order is exactly the same for Lucretius [5.170-73 (62) ]:
Nam gaudere novis rebus debere videtur
cui veteres obsunt; sed cui nil accidit aegri
tempore in anteacto, cum pulchre degeret aevom,
quid potuit novitatis amorem accendere tali? 	
People create new things by imitating Nature's example.

At specimen sationis et insitionis origo		
ipsa fuit rerum primum natura creatrix.
These lines (DRN 5.1361-2) mark the beginning of a passage in which Lucretius describes the idyllic simple life of shepherds and farmers and the invention of musical instruments. It does not seem accidental, that Ovid inserted two 'idyllic' scenes following the lines where Daedalus 'renews nature' (63) . A statement stressing the naturalness of the wings precedes each scene: it looks as if the wings have grown naturally ('ut clivo crevisse putes', 8.191) and Daedalus has conceived his work ut veras imitetur aves (8.195). The first allusion to idyllic life consists of the simile of the flute (8.191-2), a new element, because it does not appear in the Ars :
ut clivo crevisse putes: sic rustica quondam		
fistula disparibus paulatim surgit avenis. 
The juxtapositition of natural growth ('crevisse') and a tool (a technical creation) also appears in DRN 5.1379-83, where the invention of music is naturally associated with birds and nature shows how to produce music technically:
At liquidas avium voces imitarier ore		
ante fuit multo quam levia carmina cantu		
concelebrare homines possent auris iuvare.		
Et zephyri, cava per calamorum, sibila primum		
agrestis docuere cavas inflare cicutas. 
The idyllic atmosphere is continued in a second scene, with Icarus, who, with shining face, plays with the plumes that move in a vagrant breeze and experiences what a substance like wax feels like, in the meantime getting in his father's way (8.195-200):
ut veras imitetur aves. Puer Icarus una		
stabat et ignarus sua se tractare pericla		
ore renidenti modo, quas vaga moverat aura,		
captabat plumas, flavam modo pollice ceram		
mollibat lusuque suo mirabile patris		
impediebat opus. 
Icarus in his happiness seems to symbolize those early human beings in the DRN , discovering all kinds of things, for instance the effects of a breeze (like the Lucretian zephyrus) or the wonder of his father's work. Lucretius concludes (DRN 5.1403-4):
unde oriebantur risus dulcesque cachinni,		
omnia quod nova tum magis haec et mira vigebant. 
The whole passus in the DRN breathes enjoyment, delight, the simple life being sufficient for a human being (64) . However, for Lucretius well being has its limits; one has to know that the good life may vary in its aspects, but must not be pushed too far, as it too often is
Ergo hominum genus incassum frustraque laborat		
semper et in curis consumit inanibus aevom,		
nimirum quia non cognovit quae sit habendi		
finis et omnino quoad crescat vera voluptas.
These lines (DRN 5.1430-3) present, though from a completely different angle, the theme of aurea mediocritas. The Epicurean good life can only be obtained when one 'knows' what is good for oneself (65) . Excess will not add to it. Reading the Icarus myth from a Lucretian point of view one will not be surprised to find that the hero possesses this precious frame of mind (66) . Since Daedalus the homo faber is not engaged in an act of hybris, but in an act of creation according to the Lucretian notion of progress, the virtue of moderation now appears appropriate and not at all psychologically incongruous, as it seemed to be in a 'classic' interpretation of the myth. Also the divine connotation the epithet 'opifex' seemed to convey to Daedalus looses much of its celestial lustre (67) . Homo faber simply continues the work of mother Nature
sic unumquicquid paulatim protrahit aetas		
in medium ratioque in luminis erigit oras.		
namque alid ex alio clarescere corde videbant		
artibus, ad summum donec venere cacumen.  (DRN   5.1454-6)
The suggestion that Daedalus is acting on a divine level now points to the notion that everybody who acts without fear for the gods (and consequently for destruction through punishment) and who lives in this self-contained well-being is like a god in the Epicurean sense (DRN 3.322):
ut nil impediat dignam dis degere vitam (68) .
Another Lucretian element in the Icarus myth is the attention given to physical elements (Zingerle's 'Physikalisches'). The Epicurean triad has already been mentioned. A special point of interest offers the mechanism of flying, which belongs to the material world of 'nuts and bolts'. The constituents of the wings are feathers, cord and wax (8.193):
tum lino medias et ceris alligat imas (sc. pennas).
In Ovid's Metamorphoses version special attention is given to the arrangement of the feathers, compared to the Ars :
			Nam ponit in ordine pennas		
a minima coeptas, longam breviore sequenti 
These lines (8.189-90) have been the object of controversy (69) , since there appears to be a contradiction in line 190 ("if Daedalus begins his arrangement with the smaller feathers, how can Ovid say in the next phrase that a smaller one follows a longer one, if there is supposed to be an ordo?"). The explanation, which gives Ovid the credit of knowing what he is talking about (and not being the 'sloppy' poet (70) is to our mind offered by Erwin Sonderegger and is on a level with Lucretian thinking: since Daedalus imitates real nature, he (= Ovid) first has a good look at a bird's wing and consequently first lays out a basic layer of feathers; then upon each longer 'lower' feather a shorter 'upper' feather is laid to constitute the - natural - upper layer of a wing (71) .

Wax as a glue for the feathers seems to have been an acceptable idea for the Romans. Wax was a much more familiar substance in antiquity than in our times (e.g. wax tablets). So everybody knew the physical properties of wax: it melts when heated. Lucretius of course does not fail to mention it (6.965): 'denique cera liquefit in eius (sc. the sun) posta vapore'. Ovid uses the words 'mollit' (8.226) (72) and 'tabuerant' (8.227) in this respect (the working of the wax is also called 'mollibat' in line 199, when Icarus prods it with his thumb) (73) .

For the wings Ovid adopts the term, also used by Lucretius and Vergil, 'remigium' (8.228) (74) . Lucretius, when talking about the strange character of the Avernian regions, tells what happens to birds when

			cum venere volantes,		
remigi oblitae pennarum vela remittunt		
praecipitesque cadunt 			(6.742-4)
Icarus' downfall is of course not caused by forgetfulness:
tabuerant cerae: nudos quatit ille lacertos		
remigioque carens non ullas percipit auras		
oraque caerulea patrium clamantia nomen		
excipiuntur aqua 				(8.227-30)
The content of Lucretius' argument about how the 'Avernian' birds need air as a support for their wings offers a striking parallel with the description of Icarus' downfall (although the birds lack air, whereas Icarus lacks wings). If there is none then (DRN 6.834-8):
claudicat extemplo pinnarum nisus inanis
et conamen utrimque alarum proditur omne. 
hic ubi nixari nequeunt insistereque alis,          
scilicet in terram delabi pondere cogit          
The importance of the support of air for the wings and the notion that air is a substance which can be moved is explicitly mentioned by Ovid: Icarus 'non ullas percipit auras' (8.228); Daedalus 'motaque pependit in aura' (8.202).

The opinion, voiced by Horace, that wings do not grow naturally on human beings and should be considered too excessive and consequently be condemned, will certainly not be backed by Lucretius. People make movements out of free will, 'ubi ipsa tulit mens' (2.260). And in the fourth book Lucretius emphatically argues that there is no predestined use of the limbs (75) . On the contrary,

	               et omnia denique membra          
ante fuere, ut opinor, eorum quam foret usus;          
haud igitur potuere utendi crescere causa. 	( 4.840-2)
So, where a teleological conception of the human body makes Daedalus into a lawbreaker, in a Lucretian view the wings are a natural consequence of progress. Daedalus' mind conceived them and created them according to nature:
	ignotas animum dimittit in artes		
naturamque novat. 				(8.188-9)
In these lines the spirit of the homo faber obviously coincides with the Lucretian spirit.

b. Ovid's narrative treatment.

There is one seeming incongruity which has not yet been discussed. Daedalus, who appears as a Lucretian model human in the first half of the poem, suddenly breaks down when adapting the wings to Icarus' shoulders. In his nervousness his cheeks become wet and his hands are trembling. Gone is Epicurean ataraxia and the good life. Strongly suggestive is also the concentration of dactyli in lines 210-212, which keeps the agitation of Daedalus going until the spondee at 'pennis', where the pace is momentarily halted to mark the important moment of 'take-off', only to be taken up again by another set of dactyli in the next line:

Inter opus monitusque genae maduere seniles		
et patriae tremuere manus. Dedit oscula nato		
non iterum repetenda suo pennisque levatus		
ante volat comitique timet, velut ales ab alto 
The anxiety of Daedalus for his son takes four lines in the Metamorphoses, in the Ars only two, and again the addition invites comparison with a similar passage in Lucretius (76). This time the worrying Daedalus appears to be an 'inverted' image of the Lucretian father and as such constitutes perhaps a subtle critical Ovidian side-note to Lucretian ideas. The key elements that make up the allusion - a father's fear, parental love, symbolized by the kisses, and the notion that it never may be like this again - appear in the next fragment of Lucretius, where at a drinking party friends discuss the shortness of life and the irrevocableness of death (DRN 3.894-903) :
"Iam iam non domus accipiet te laeta, neque uxor		
optima nec dulces occurrent oscula nati		
praeripere et tacita pectus dulcedine tangent.		
non poteris factis florentibus esse, tuisque	
praesidium. Misero misere," aiunt, "omnia ademit	
una dies infesta tibi tot praemia vitae."		
illud in his rebus non addunt "nec tibi earum		
iam desiderium rerum super insidet una."		
Quod bene si videant animo dictisque sequantur		
dissoluant animi magno se angore metuque. 
This picture of domestic and parental happiness is the only one in Lucretius, who mostly refers to 'parents' and 'children' in a purely procreational context. The textual clue for this reference is 'oscula nati', which appears in the same position, verse ending, in Ovid four times, three out of which appear in passages concerning a father who has a premonition of doom for his child (77) . The Lucretian fathers, rather self-centredly at first, complain about their own death and how they won't be able to receive the sweet love of their children and wife any more after death, nor to protect their own. Lucretius' 'consolation' concerns the feeling of fear they have for their own lives. Ovid turns the picture around by making Daedalus fear for his child and dread he will never be able to give him his love any more. This fact of life, the anxious love of a parent, raises a critical question with respect to Lucretius' exhortation that one should not fear death: "and what about the death of my children?" A human being may gain that state of ataraxia for himself, alone, but cannot control this process with regard to others.

So, being a parent makes one vulnerable through his/her children. Daedalus, composed as he may be as the self-contained artisan, cannot avoid the test and the failure of his values when he exposes his son to an endeavour he himself is up to, but apparently not this too young child. It seems logical then that Ovid, after having contrasted Daedalus-the-homo faber in the first half of the poem with Daedalus-the-father in the second half, adds another line ('to the Ars version'), which comprises both father and artisan:

devovitque suas artes corpusque sepulcro 		
condidit				(Met.  8.234-5)
Daedalus realizes here that he himself may have been on top of the world, but that his egocentric attitude has caused the death of a loved one, who was not yet ready for the 'Epicurean way of life'. In cursing his invention he curses his limited, because too egocentric, grasp of reality: the father curses the artisan.

Death is inevitable and natural for every human being, as Lucretius emphasizes in his third book over and over again. Still reasoning and feelings are two different things: although the death of Icarus is not caused by some divine punishment, but by his own failure to judge of the situation rightly, it is still felt to be untimely (a mors immatura), and no philosophical doctrine will be able to reason this universal topos away. The impotence of a parent to shield his/her child from its own mistakes is a point of human interest that constitutes the attraction and popularity of the myth. Ovid has masterly integrated it into his narrative, thus, willingly or not, showing the flaw in the Lucretian ideal.


Ovid's narrative procedure prompts the reader to interpret the myth as a classic hybris story with a focus on the homo faber controversy. The expectations of the reader however are not fulfilled, since there is no punishment of hybris, or better, there is no punishment of hybris possible because of the complete absence of gods. Paradoxically Ovid, through several allusions, suggests that Daedalus is acting on a divine level. There also seems to be an incongruity in the Daedalus character. Now he is self-contained and level-headed, then again he is uncertain and worrying.
Many wordings, situations and topics in the Icarus story suggest the presence of Lucretian ideas. In part this may come about because of the 'physical' content of the poem; still it looks like a Lucretian interpretation of the myth was willed by Ovid. This makes sense in that it solves the seeming incongruities which arise in a 'surface' reading and offers a meaningful explanation for some so-called sloppy Ovidian passages that seem illogical (e.g. the order of the feathers, the onlookers). It is also in line with Ovid's narrative procedure of paradox, which constantly seeks to play inversely upon the expectation of the reader and shed an unexpected light on familiar themes (78).

Consequently the myth of Icarus becomes a Lucretian 'myth', in which a classic metamorphosis (which requires the presence of gods) is impossible (79) . Lucretius, always trying to convince his reader that he need not fear the gods, because they do not intervene in human life, believed in naturally (physically) explainable transformations and in human progress based upon Nature's example. Daedalus and Icarus are not physically transformed either by gods or Nature. Human progress however is abundantly present and completely in line with Lucretian 'procedure'. Really remarkable is the change in mentality by which this is made possible: Daedalus, through his behaviour, shows that the universe is exclusively human (while the onlookers remain stuck in their imaginary world of old beliefs) (80) . That this psychological metamorphosis is a permanent one is shown by the act of flying. Daedalus reaches his destination without any divine obstruction or technical problems.

By stripping the myth of Icarus of its divine dimension Ovid has provided a metaphor for human progress in a Lucretian line of thought: a metamorphosis of myth into reality.


1 For suggestions on outline and arrangement of the subject matter of this article I am very much indebted to Prof. Dr. Lowell Edmunds and Dr. Alden Smith of the hospitable Department of Classics of Rutgers University, NJ, USA; I am also especially grateful to Prof. Dr. W.Evenepoel of the Universiteit Leuven, who read an earlier copy of this article, for his expert comment and suggestions.

2 Franz Bömer argues that Ovid inserted the Icarus myth because he 'could not ignore' it, being part of the Athenian-Cretan repertoire, (cf. F.Bömer, 'die Zugehörigkeit zum Repertoire', in: P.Ovidius Naso - Metamorphosen. Buch VIII-IX [Heidelberg 1977], p.69; hereafter Bömer); this argument though looses much of its strength when one considers the way Ovid treats the Theseid, also belonging to the Athenian-Cretan repertoire, as a 'non-story' (cf. Sara Mack in: Ovid, New Haven 1988, p.140; see also William S.Anderson, Ovid's Metamorphoses. Books 6-10, Oklahoma 1972, p.358; hereafter Anderson).

3 Cf. Daspet, Françoise, in: La légende de Dédale et Icare chez Ovide, Orphea Voce 2 (1985), p.96-8 (hereafter Daspet). In Daspet's model of an Ovidian metamorphosis the victim does not want the metamorphosis and does not enact it him-/herself; a god decides about it and causes it; the victim is a criminal to be punished or a poor creature to be helped; the metamorphosis destroys the initial state of the victim and wipes out his/her former nature; it creates irreversibly a new being; the new state is always a degradation of the former, which was human. Daspet concludes: "Dans son audace, Dédale se substitue aux dieux pour modifier les actions habituelles des hommes et il imagine une métamorphose dont il est l'acteur, en même temps que l'auteur, mais qu'il ne subit pas ." Daspet's article is rather confusing with regards to the different meanings of 'metamorphosis' and 'transformation' she apparently ascribes to these phrases; now it seems to suggest that Daedalus does experience a metamorphosis, and then again it suggests he does not. Two different interpretations of 'metamorphosis' seem to have been used here, one to denote the 'model metamorphosis', the other to denote a 'new' kind of metamorphosis. The argumentation for the latter interpretation is, I think, very much ad rem, though Daspet does not take the final step to fully exploring and tying up the internal evidence into a meaningful whole. A.S.Hollis also explicitly rejects the idea of a metamorphosis (in: Ovid. Metamorphoses Book VIII, Oxford 1970, p.62; hereafter Hollis).

4 Anderson, p.351: Daedalus is metamorphosed into a 'bird' (Anderson's quote marks), and: The fact that Daedalus copies real birds suggests that the man wishes to become a bird . Line 195 ( ut veras imitetur aves ) leads Simone Viarre to conclude that Daedalus becomes a bird: description du travail de Dé présente comme une métamorphose en Met. VIII,195; c'est une transformation en oiseau (in: Doublets mythologiques chez Ovide, Collections Latomus 201, Brussels 1988, p.447; hereafter Viarre).

5 E.g. Françoise Frontisi-Ducroux: chez Dédale et Icare la transformation en oiseau n'est que métaphorique. She distinguishes between a metamorphosis into a bird (e.g. Perdix), which is definitive, and a transformation into a bird (Daedalus). Daedalus' transformation is successful, Icarus' is not (in: Dédale. Mythologie de l'artisan en Grèce ancienne, Paris 1975, p.160; hereafter Frontisi-Ducroux). Erwin Sonderegger in Die Flügel des Daedalus. Zur Rezeption einer schwierigen Ovidstelle, Gymnasium 93 (1986), p.526 (hereafter Sonderegger) interprets naturam novat (line 189) metaphorically: 'he (= Daedalus) makes something new with respect to Nature', concluding: "So könnte es gut sein, dass Ovid hier einen Hinweis gibt, wo er die Metamorphose "versteckt" hat: in der Erfindung des Dädalus". For Daspet (p.96) on the other hand the same naturam novat rules out a metaphorical interpretation because of its general character as a sententia : with this phrase Ovid, in her opinion, states objectively the reality of a metamorphosis.

6 Hansjörg Haege, Terminologie und Typologie des Verwandlungsvorgangs in den Metamorphosen Ovids, Göppinger Akademische Beitrage 99 (1976) Göppingen, p.209 (hereafter Haege): naturamque novat ist also so zu verstehen, dass Daedalus seine menschliche Natur in eine göttliche verwandelt. Insofern handelt es sich hier weder um eine (äussere) Gestalt- noch um eine (innere) Wesensverwandlung, sondern um die Verwandlung seiner gesamten." Haege is however not explicit as to the meaning of 'gesamten'.

7 Naturam novat in line 189 (Daspet, p.96; Sonderegger, p.526; Haege, p.205); mirabile in line 199 : "since the marvelous regularly has been associated with metamorphosis, the choice of mirabile gives further indication that Daedalus' artistry is producing metamorphosis" (Anderson, p.351); pependit in line 202: "this is the standard verb to describe the appearance of humans when metamorphosed into birds" (Anderson, p.351). Daspet (p.98) observes that Ovid with line 220 (credidit esse deos ) shows very clearly what the metamorphosis of Daedalus and Icarus consists of: they have acquired supernatural power, because they can fly like gods. Haege (p.205): "...muss es als Wandlung menschlichen Wesens gelten, wenn Daedalus auf den Gedanken kommt: at caelum certe patet; ibimus illac (8.186)."

8 As Haege (p.206) remarks with respect to the simile of the bird (Met. 8.213): "Wie sich aus Verbindung von Vergleichen mit Verwandlungen ergeben hat, kan nicht jeder Vergleich dazu berechtigen, den Schluss: simile, ergo idem zu ziehen."

9 As for the idea, that Daedalus' and Icarus' wish to become a bird does not come true, on the contrary, proves to be fatal, Haege remarks pertinently (p.208, n.546): "Eine solche Interpretation hebt sich selbst auf, weil dies nur für Icarus gilt."

10 See note 4.

11 It looks as if Daedalus and Icarus have been transformed: credidit esse deos (8.220). Also e.g. in the myth of Cephalus and Procris (another non-metamorphosis story): favet huic Aurora timori immutatque meam (videor sensisse) figuram. Palladias ineo non cognoscendus Athenas... ( Met. 7.721-3).

12 Cf. Daspet, p.83: "...jamais les modèles d'Ovide n'ont jugé bon de faire un épisode dramatique isolé de la fuite de Dédale et d'Icare"; also Viarre, p.442.

13 The source of the tale as brought by Ovid lies in the Hellenistic period (Callimachus or Stephanodorus, cf. Bömer, p.69) but allusions to Hellenistic writers remain 'topical' (e.g. Apollonius Rhodius, 3.744-6, might have been Ovid's inspiration for the 'star chart' of lines 206-8) and do not add to a better understanding of the nature of the metamorphosis. For more on allusion as a term per se see G.B.Conte, The Rhetoric of Imitation; Genre and Poetic Memory in Virgil and other Latin Poets, Ed. Ch.Segal, Ithaca and London, 1986. Many commentators emphasize the inevitable subjectivity of an interpretation based upon allusions by a poet. Though it is well known that Ovid was a master in the imitation of his predecessors and contemporaries (an aspect of the literary obligation of aemulatio of the time), not every passage that reminds one of this or that poet may be an actual allusion, but may well belong to a 'general poetic memory'. So every decision in this respect remains based upon individual interpretation, which is per se subjective, though it may grow more 'objective' as more scholars adhere to this particular view. By allusion is also meant here Ovidian 'self-reference', such as described by Francis Cairns in Self-imitation within a generic framework, in Creative Imitation and Latin Literature, ed. D.West and T.Woodman, New York 1979, p.143-56.

14 See note 3.

15 Bömer's suggestion (p.69), see note 2; Daspet (p.94-6), Viarre (p.446) and M. von Albrecht ('Epische' und 'Elegische' Erzählung. Ovids zwei Daedalusfassungen. Römische Poesie. Texte und Interpretationen, Heidelberg 1977, p.63-79) have convincingly argued otherwise.

16 E.g. the scene with the onlookers (A.A. 2,77-8; Met . 8,217-20), where the addition of two people is significant, as will be discussed in the next section. Here I do not agree with Bömer (p.70) "dass die Unterschiede zwischen Ars und Met. zwar poetisch-technischer, nicht aber essentieller Natur sind."

17 Cf. in this respect A.G.Lee (Ovid. Metamorphoses Book 1, Cambridge 1953, p.26): "The mere planning of the work and its orderly arrangement must have been a considerable labour, let alone the task of composition which Ovid carried through to the end with unflagging invention."

18 Also Daspet (p.94-6) points to the essential difference in scope of both fragments, which to her is essentially of a generic nature: the omission of the prayer to Jupiter accentuates the self-evidence of the 'epic hero' Daedalus of the Metamorphoses ; a self-evidence which manifests itself also in naturam novat , where the subjective meae of the Ars is omitted. Bömer (p.71): "Ovid schildert nur eine andere Seite der Szene, vielleicht einfach aus poetischen Gründen, um eine Wiederholung zu vermeiden." If, however, Ovid had wanted to avoid repetition, he could easily have chosen other wordings instead of taking a great number of lines from the Ars. By 'repeating himself' in a part of the story, he inevitably suggests a different interpretation there, where the Metamorphoses version is different.

19 An erudite analysis of this topic offers the publication of Franz Lämmli, homo faber: Triumph, Schuld, Verhängnis? Schweizerische Beiträge zur Altertumswissenschaft 11, ed. Bernhard Wyss, Basel 1968 (hereafter Lämmli). Ovid accentuates this characteristic of Daedalus through the relative importance given in the narrative to the scene of the building of the wings, compared with the Ars: in the Metamorphoses 7 lines, in the Ars only 3 lines.

20 Lämmli (p.35) calls it the " Prothesen welt des homo faber".

21 Cf. Xenophanes (VS 21 B 18): Outoi ap' archès panta theoi thnètois' hypedeixan, alla chronooi zètountes epheuriskousin ameinon . These lines constitute the Sophists' program, according to Lämmli (p.31). But also Plato (Polit. 299E) remarks that life without tools would be 'abiootos'.

22 Significant influence of the Works and Days may be found in Callimachus, Aratus and Nicander, as well as Lucretius and Vergil.

23 The Prometheus theme.

24 Theogony 510-616; Works and Days 47-89

25 Works and Days 106-201

26 Cf. Vergil (Georgics, 1.121 ff.):

                                 pater ipse colendi          
haud facilem esse viam voluit, primusque per artem         
movit agros curis acuens mortalia corda.
27 Cf. Ovid, Met. 1.137-43 about the Iron Age:
Nec tantum segetes alimentaque debita dives          
poscebatur humus, sed itumst in viscera terrae          
quasque recondiderat Stygiisque admoverat umbris          
effodiuntur opes, inritamenta malorum.          
Iamque nocens ferrum ferroque nocentius aurum          
prodierat; prodit bellum quod pugnat utroque          
sanguineaque manu crepitantia concutit arma.
28 Cf. Horace: expertus vacuum Daedalus aera / pennis non homini datis (Odes, 1.3.34-5). Hollis (p.59) cites this passage of Horace to illustrate a possible translation of naturam novat (line 189) with 'doing violence to Nature'.

29 Comparison with the only other opifex passage in Ovid's oeuvre, Ibis 541, is not relevant, since the Ibis is posterior to the Metamorphoses.

30 Hollis recognizes a traditional motif here: "Cicero (Nat. Deor. 2.89) preserves a fragment of Accius' Medea (381-396) in which a shepherd expresses his astonishment at the sight of Argo, the first ship, taking it for some kind of sea-monster." (p.60). The suggestion, cited in Bömer's commentary on Met. 8.217-20 (p.78, about "die Unwirklichkeit der Situation"), that a fisherman, nor a shepherd or a plower are supposed to look up at the sky, is at least to be called strange. Goethe is quoted as a support for this 'fact', but it would seem likely that Vergil is a greater authority on farming matters of his time. He tells us ( Georgics 1.50-2) that a farmer has the habit of looking at the sky:

ac prius ignotum ferro quam scindimus aequor          
ventos et varium caeli praediscere morem          
cura sit...
31 Haege (p.207): "Fischer, Hirte und Bauer sind wohl mit Absicht gewählt, um eine Urzeit zu assoziieren." With 'Urzeit' seems to be meant here Daedalus' own time, and not specifically the Silver Age.

32 The passage is not found in previous authors' versions of the myth. Cf. Thomas A. Hayward (hereafter Hayward) in: The fall of Icarus: Ovid, Brueghel et al., New England Classical News­letter XIV,1 (1986), p.19.

33 Cf. Daspet, p.106: "Ovide a su, dans les Met., donner l'impression que Dédale est a la fois audacieux et prudent." These are qualities "qui font toute la force et la puissance de son héros". And "Ovide admire les qualités humaines de Dédale, entre autres, la maîtrise qu'il a de lui-même et qui lui permet de se lancer dans une entreprise hardie, tout en restant prudent". Daspet does not interpret this passage as ironical, but takes it at surface value: in order to pass from childhood to adulthood, Icarus must transform his plays into serious action with prudence, avoiding excessiveness; hence his father's admonition. - That taking to the sky was a crime in the opinion of the ancients has been investigated by Louis Delatte in his thorough article: Caelum ipsum petimus stultitia..., L'Antiquité Classique 4 (1935) p.309-36 (hereafter Delatte).

34 Cf. also Daspet (p.115) and Bömer (p.76) on this parallel.

35 Cf. Delatte, p.314.

36 These lines follow a strophe in which Horace defines Daedalus' wings as not belonging to human territory; see note 28.

37 The present argument pertains to Ovid's tale of Icarus as a separate episode in the whole of the Metamorphoses. Of course Ovid continues his narrative (and confuses immediately the sympathy the reader has gained for Daedalus) with the story of Perdix, son of Daedalus' sister, murdered by Daedalus before his flight to Crete. Although this story does not alter the notion of metamorphosis in the Icarus story, it does alter our notion of guilt and punishment: "Die einstige verbrecherische Handelsweise des Künstlers muss mit dem Tod des eigenen Sohnes gebüsst werden. So wird auch hier noch einmal deutlich, wie der Flug des Ikarus zum Verhängnis wurde, nicht weil Daedalus in kühner und anmassender Weise mit der neglegentia deorum Uebermenschliches gewagt hatte, nicht weil er mit seiner neuen Erfindung gegen die Gebote der pietas oder der moderatio verstossen hatte, sondern weil seine einstige invidia die gerechte Strafe durch die Götter forderte" (Brigitte Hebel, Vidit et obstipuit. Ein Interpretationsversuch zu Daedalus und Ikarus in Text und Bild, Der Altsprachliche Unterricht 1/1972, p.93; hereafter Hebel); see also on this subject Walter Haedicke, Die Nicht-Metamorphose, Der Altsprachliche Unterricht 3/1969, p.74.

38 Horace (Ode 1,3) ranks Daedalus among Prometheus and Hercules.

39 See note 37.

40 Daspet, p.121: devovere also means 'dedicate to the Underworld'.

41 That the Daedalus of Vergil was in Ovid's mind is already clear in Met. 8.210/1:

inter opus monitusque genae maduere seniles          
et patriae tremuere manus,

which has its parallel in Aen. 6.32/3

bis conatus erat casus effingere in auro  
bis patriae cecidere manus.
Variatio is realised here by the scope of time: Ovid's Daedalus trembles because of anticipation, Vergil's by reminiscence.

42 The Icarus myth is preceded by the Minotaur story, which for Ariadne ends in her crown being put, by Bacchus, among the stars (8.152-82). The myth that follows is that of Perdix, who is saved from Daedalus' murderous assault by Minerva, who metamorphoses him into a partridge. See also note 37 on this subject.

43 Cf. Joseph Farrell, Dialogue of genres in Ovid's 'Lovesong of Polyphemus (Metamorphoses 13.719-897), AJPh 113 (1992) 235-268: " [sc. the Metamorphoses] is characterized chiefly by this very element of polyphony, of openness to the influence of different genres, stylistic registers and ideologies" (p.238); " seems apposite to observe that one of the most notable features of the Metamorphoses is its recurrence to contrasts between a pluralistic, anti-authoritarian stance and an aggressive, domineering, and, as it were, monologic force" (p.268).

44 On Ovid's admiration for Lucretius, cf. Georges Lafaye, Les Métamorphoses d'Ovide et leurs modèles grecs, Paris 1904 (hereafter Lafaye), p.222: "Le témoignage d'admiration le plus chaleureux que l'antiquité nous ait laissé sur Lucrèce est celui qu'Ovide a inséré dans un de ses poèmes galants". Lafaye refers to Amores 1.15.23-4:

Carmina sublimis tunc sunt peritura Lucreti               
	exitio terras cum dabit una dies. 
Ovid praises Lucretius here with his own words (DRN 5.95).

45 F.Bömer, in: P.Ovidius Naso - Metamorphosen. Buch XIV-XV, Heidelberg 1986, p.270-1, presents an overview on the different commentaries on this subject; as Lafaye puts it, p.222: "C'est que ce poète, qui n'a point la tête philosophique, sent à merveille la dignité et la grandeur de la philosophie". Phillip DeLacey, in Philosophical Doctrine and Poetic Technique in Ovid, The Classical Journal 43 (3), 1947 (hereafter DeLacey) calls it 'Philosophy for effect - not based on convictions' (p.153).

46 In book 15 for example Ovid uses many Lucretian themata to describe life and doctrine of Pythagoras, as he does in Pythagoras' speech itself. This is explained as a proof of Ovid's admiration for Lucretius by Francis Van Hecke in: Lucretius' invloed op de Latijnse poezie van de Oudheid (Lic. thesis, Univ. of Leuven) 1977, p.122 (hereafter Van Hecke).

47 Anton Zingerle, Ovidius und sein Verhältnis zu den Vorgängern und gleichzeitigen Römischen Dichtern II, 1871, reprint Hildesheim 1967 (hereafter Zingerle); on pages 12-47 Zingerle examines Lucretius' influence upon Ovid. A comprehensive analysis of this subject is also presented by Van Hecke, p. XIII-XVI and 136-7 and DeLacey, p.155-8.

48 Zingerle, p.24.

49 For Lucretius, "divine interference must be denied at each step" (Cyril Bailey, Titi Lucreti Cari De Rerum Natura Libri Sex, Vol.II: Commentary, Books I-III, Oxford 1972, p.625; hereafter Bailey).

50 Deos induxit Epicurus habitantes inter duos mundos propter metum ruinarum , Cic. Div. 2.40.

51 Cf. also DRN 1.151-5.

52 The credulous people are not of a specific kind, as Ovid's 'Silver Age' farmer and shepherd. Lucretius' view of evolution differs from the classic idea that from Creation on matters became worse for humankind (the Ages theory); in the fifth book of the DRN he presents a more complex interpretation of progress. On this subject see Margaret Taylor, Progress and Primitivism in Lucretius, American Journal of Philology 68 (1947), p.180-94 (hereafter Taylor), esp. p.180. Shepherd and farmer do appear side by side in Lucretius, but only in the account of the pest in Athens, lying dead in their hut (6.1252-5).

53 See also DeLacey, p.155.

54 Zingerle, p.13, cites several parallels in Lucretius and Ovid on this subject.

55 Caelum (186); aëra (187); aura (202); aëra (214); aethera (219); caelique (224); auras (228).

56 pelago (185); undas (185); unda (205); aqua (230); undis (233). The danger consists of the weight the water of the sea may add to the wings.

57 Not part of the trias, but also a Lucretian topic: rapidi ignis (see citation of Tristia above). Mentioned in line 205 ( ignis adurat ) and 225 ( rapidi solis ).

58 Loci natalis (184); terras (185); the islands (221/2); sepulcro (234); tellus (235).

59 Sonderegger (p.526) translates naturam novat as "im Rahmen der Natur etwas Neues machen" and interprets it as a possible clue of Ovid as to the nature of the metamorphosis: "So könnte es gut sein, dass Ovid hier einen Hinweis gibt, wo er die Metamorphose "versteckt" hat: in der Erfindung des Dädalus." Though this cannot be a real metamorphosis, because the wing is lifeless and will remain so, Sonderegger's translation seems, in a Lucretian sense, the right one; Hollis' translation of 'doing violence to nature' would in this respect not be acceptable (see note 28).

60 Also 1.678 and 1.687 : mutatoque ordine mutant naturam .

61 Zingerle, p.15:

rerumque novatrix          
ex aliis alias reparat natura figuras   (Met. 15.252-3) 

Denique ni minimas in partis cuncta resolvi cogere consuesset rerum natura creatrix, iam nil ex illis eadem reparare valeret (DRN 1.628-10)

62 These lines belong to a passage, where Lucretius argues, that the creation of the world is not caused by gods, since their state of happiness does not urge them to seek something new.

63 Comparison with the Ars shows, that Ovid, in the Metamorphoses, has accorded much more lines to the building of the wings (Ars 4 lines, Met. 7 lines) and to the play of Icarus (Ars 2 lines, Met. 6 lines).

64 Lucretius gives much attention to the invention of music, not accidentally, because the scenery in which Lucretius lets the invention take place, the countryside, symbolizes the good life without undue ambition, which is the Epicurean ideal. Cf. Enea Bertoli, Tempora Rerum. Modalitá del progresso umano in Lucrezio , (Verona 1980), p.74-6.

65 "Any discussion of progress in relation to Epicureanism should be related to Epicurean values. And here the goal is clear. It is of course the life of pleasure, [-] The knowledge of nature's laws, the achievements of philosophical speculation are derived from the same impulse as his technical skills, namely that desire for security and freedom from fear without which happiness is unattainable." (Taylor, p.184-5).

66 Met. 8.203-6.

67 See p.10 on 'opifex'.

68 Cf. Epicurus, Ep. ad Men. 135: "You shall live as a god among men."

69 Cf. the summary of the different opinions in Bömer, p.72-3.

70 Bömer, p.73: "Es ist aber bekannt, dass Sachangaben bei ihm (sc. Ovid) oft mit der grössten Unbekümmertheit gegeben werden [-]."

71 Sonderegger, p.527.

72 In the Ars Ovid uses in this locus 'liquescit'.

73 Zingerle (p.23) finds a parallel in Ovid and Lucretius, where Ovid seems to have adopted a simile from Lucretius with the melting of wax: quasi igni cera super calido tabescens (DRN 6.515-6) and sed ut intabescere flavae igne levi cerae (Met. 3.487-8).

74 Cf. Aeneis 1.301 and 6.19 (= the Daedalus passage). Attestations of the expression are found from Homer on (Bömer, p.81).

75 DRN 4.822-57.

76 A.A. 2.69-70 :

iamque volaturus parvo dedit oscula nato,               
nec patriae lacrimas continuere genae.
It is interesting to find that in the 'epic' Metamorphoses more lines are accorded to this typically elegiac topic than in the Ars.

77 Cf. Zingerle, p.27: A.A. 2.69; Met. 8.211; Met. 4.222; Met. 6.504 (- 510):

mandabat pariterque suae dabat oscula natae,          
et lacrimae mites inter mandata cadebant.          
supremumque "Vale" pleno singultibus ore          
vix dixit timuitque suae praesagia mentis. 
Vergil adopted the expression also in the same position, but alludes only to the 'happy' lines of this Lucretian passage in his Georgics 2.523-4 :
interea dulces pendent circum oscula nati,          
casta pudicitiam servet domus
78 In the same way Ovid inverts completely the sympathy the reader feels at the end of the Icarus story for Daedalus, by next inserting the Perdix story, as mentioned above.

79 Cf. Bailey (p.898-9) on how Lucretius interprets the myths of the Earth Mother and her cult. "The myths of popular religion may to some extent be reconciled with philosophy, if they are interpreted as allegorical expositions of physical or moral truths" (p.899). Epicurus wished to be freed from the 'myth about the gods' ( Men., §134).

80 The famous Renaissance painter Pieter Bruegel chose the scene with the spectators and the fall of Icarus as the theme of his only classical picture. He too must have felt the exclusively human dimension of this poem of Ovid and adopted it as being in line with the human perspective of Renaissance, which was his, but not without coloring it with his own, rather pessimistic, ideas of human character. Cf. also Hebel on this subject (p.94-8).

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