The Ceyx Legend in Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book XI

Classical Quarterly 31 (01):147- (1981)
The saga of Ceyx, king of Trachis, begins at Met. 11.266 and continues to 11.748. Ceyx' adventures form the longest single episode in the Metamorphoses , slightly longer than the Phaethon legend . Three metamorphoses take place in the course of the Ceyx narrative. The first is that of Ceyx' brother Daedalion who is transformed into a hawk. The second transformation occurs in the course of the exiled Peleus' visit to Ceyx when a wolf attacks Peleus' cattle and sheep and is eventually turned into stone. The third metamorphosis is that of Ceyx and his wife Alcyone into halcyons. The linking together of these three metamorphoses was entirely an Ovidian invention: it had never been done before. It is therefore important to see the Ceyx story as a whole, as it was put together by Ovid. Attention naturally concentrates on the most interesting episode in it – the Ceyx–Alcyone – but the Daedalion and Peleus episodes are integral parts of the narrative and not separate legends. The story is framed by the contrasting transformations of the two brothers. The fierce and bellicose Daedalion becomes a bird of prey . The gentle and uxorious Ceyx becomes a happily paired halcyon . It is ironic that we first meet Ceyx when he is mourning the transformation of his brother into a bird, since the same end awaits him. The brothers' characters are very different but their fates are similar. Ceyx' dealings with Peleus bring out the king of Trachis' hospitable, peace-loving, godly and husbandly qualities and give us a rounded and detailed picture of his personality to balance the developed character-study of his wife Alcyone which is to follow. The spotlight passes from Ceyx to Alcyone at Met. 11. 410
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DOI 10.1017/S0009838800021133
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E. J. Kenney (1975). Ovid, Metamorphoses. The Classical Review 25 (01):35-.

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