Metamorphoses of Gods into Animals and Humans

Jan N. Bremmer and Andrew Erskine

in The Gods of Ancient Greece

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780748637980
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670758 | DOI:
Metamorphoses of Gods into Animals and Humans

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Richard Buxton discuss five examples of narratives which relate in some way to divine metamorphosis, whether as animals or humans, for the purpose of presenting themselves to mortals. The narratives studied are the following: Athena’s encounter with Telemachos in the Odyssey, Apollo in the Hymn to Apollo, Thetis’ relationship with Achilles, Dionysos in the Bacchae and Zeus’ serial metamorphoses in pursuit of his erotic ambitions. After drawing conclusions about each of these metamorphoses and epiphanies, Buxton concludes by considering what light this material might shed on the old problem of how far Greek religion was essentially anthropomorphic.

Keywords: Anthropomorphism; Metamorphosis; Epiphany; Animals; Athena; Dionysos; Thetis; Zeus; Apollo

Chapter.  4263 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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