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Antoninus Liberalis Transformationum congeries, 1676 edition

Antoninus Liberalis ("Greek: Ἀντωνῖνος Λιβεράλις) was an "Ancient Greek "grammarian who probably flourished between AD 100 and 300.

His only surviving work is the Metamorphoses (Μεταμορφώσεων Συναγωγή, Metamorphoseon Synagoge, literally "Collection of Transformations"), a collection of forty-one very briefly summarised tales about mythical metamorphoses effected by offended deities, unique in that they are couched in prose, not verse. The literary genre of myths of transformations of men and women, heroes and nymphs, into stars (see "Catasterismi), plants and animals, or springs, rocks and mountains, were widespread and popular in the classical world. This work has more polished parallels in the better-known "Metamorphoses of "Ovid and in the "Metamorphoses of "Lucius Apuleius. Like them, its sources, where they can be traced, are "Hellenistic works, such as "Nicander's Heteroeumena and Ornithogonia ascribed to "Boios.[1]

The work survives in a single manuscript, of the later 9th century, now in the "Palatine Library in "Heidelberg; it contains several works. John Stojkovič brought it to the Dominican convent at "Basel about 1437; in 1553, "Hieronymus Froeben gave it to "Otto Henry, Elector Palatine, who gave it to the Library. In 1623, with the rest of the Palatine Library, it was taken to Rome; in 1798, to Paris, as part of Napoleonic plunder under the terms of the "Treaty of Tolentino; in 1816, it was restored to Heidelberg.[2]

"Guilielmus Xylander printed the text in 1568; since some leaves have since disappeared, his edition is also a necessary authority for the text.

Many of the transformations in this compilation are found nowhere else, and some may simply be inventions of Antoninus. The manner of the narrative is a laconic and conversational prose: "this completely inartistic text," as Sarah Myers called it,[3] offers the briefest summaries of lost metamorphoses by more ambitious writers, such as "Nicander and "Boeus. Francis Celoria, the translator, regards the text as perfectly acceptable "koine Greek, though with numerous "hapax legomena; it is "grimly simple" and mostly devoid of "grammatical particles which would convey humor or a narratorial persona.[4]


  1. "Ctesylla
  2. The "Meleagrids
  3. Hierax
  4. "Cragaleus
  5. "Aegypius
  6. "Periphas
  7. "Anthus
  8. "Lamia or "Sybaris
  9. The King's Daughters of "Emathia
  10. Daughters of "Minyas
  11. "Aedon, the "Nightingale
  12. "Cycnus, the "Swan
  13. "Aspalis
  14. "Munichus
  15. Meropis, sister of "Agron
  16. "Oenoe
  17. "Leucippus
  18. "Aeropus
  19. The Thieves in the "Idaean cave
  20. "Clinis
  21. "Polyphonte
  22. "Cerambus
  23. "Battus
  24. "Ascalabus
  25. "Metioche and Menippe
  26. "Hylas
  27. "Iphigeneia
  28. "Typhon
  29. "Galinthias
  30. "Byblis
  31. The "Messapians
  32. "Dryope
  33. "Alcmene
  34. "Smyrna
  35. The Herdsmen, who refused "Leto
  36. "Pandareus
  37. The "Dorians, who follow "Diomedes
  38. The "Wolf of "Peleus
  39. "Arceophon
  40. "Britomartis
  41. The Fox of "Procris


  1. ^ Timothy Renner, "A Papyrus Dictionary of Metamorphoses,", Harvard Studies in Classical Philology (1978:278); many of Antoninus Liberalis' transformations are also into birds.
  2. ^ Heidelberg al. gr. 398.
  3. ^ Myers, University of Michigan, reviewing Celoria's translation in Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 1994 (on-line text).
  4. ^ Celoria, The Metamorphoses of Antoninus Liberalis, 2.


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