Ovid’s collection of stories in the Metamorphoses is said to mark a transition from pagan to Christian culture. Explain this claim.

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The content of Metamorphoses itself does not show any signs of the great spiritual and cultural change which would overtake Rome in the next few centuries, so it is difficult to claim the work itself displays this transition. However, Ovid's Metamorphoses, though not a Christian poem, was still widely read after the Roman Empire converted from pagan belief systems to Christianity.

The poem is a collection of stories featuring several different myths with the theme of transformation. Gods turn into beasts, statues become living and breathing women, humans become animals or plants, and humans even become gods, as in the case of Julius Caesar at the end of the work. It might be hard to imagine a Christian culture embracing such stories, but this was indeed the case as the Roman Empire turned from its old gods.

While nothing in the stories themselves sports any influence of Christianity since the poem was published in 8 CE, decades before the rise of Christianity as a religion, Christians began to interpret the poem in the light of their beliefs. Medieval readers viewed the stories within the Metamorphoses as morality tales or as illustrations of the nature of God. For example, Apollo might represent elements of Christ, or Zeus's transformation from deity to swan might illustrate how God can choose to appear as the highest or lowest forms. These readings were sometimes controversial in the theological community, but the stories remained popular. Later Christian writers such as Geoffery Chaucer and William Shakespeare found inspiration in Ovid's work.

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