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The Ties That (Un)Bind: Fathers, Daughters, and Pietas in Ovid's Metamorphoses

From: Syllecta Classica
Volume 22 (2011)
pp. 39-68 | 10.1353/syl.2011.0007



This article examines the father-daughter relationship, in the context of pietas, in the Metamorphoses. Ovid uses this relationship to explore pietas' potential for promoting conflicting claims and the consequences of its breakdown. He questions the nature of paternal power and filial loyalty and stresses the potential for both sides to undermine the bond, convert pietas into scelus, or destroy the relationship. Ovid thus criticizes pietas and, through stories of rebellious and independent daughters and cruel and exploitative fathers, alludes to the negative effects of Augustus' moral legislation and Augustus' own role as pater patriae.

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