Wie goed doet, goed ontmoet? | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 52, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0165-8204
  • E-ISSN: 2667-1573



The story of Philemon and Baucis ( 8.626-724) is remarkable, as humans are rewarded for their behaviour rather than punished, as is usually the case in Ovid’s epic world. An important question is therefore how we as readers should interpret this atypical story. In order to answer this question I will first analyze the story as a theoxeny. Next, I explore the narratological embedding of this story. The secondary narrator Lelex tells this story in order to prove the infinite power of the gods. He also implicitly argues that the gods show benevolence towards pious human beings. I argue that these specific goals of the narrator influence the story and how we should read it. Next, I review Ovid’s Greek literary models for this theoxeny, focusing on examples from Homer’s Odyssey and Callimachus’ . Finally, I compare the story of Philemon and Baucis with other stories in the and Fasti in which gods visit human beings. This comparison shows that the story of Philemon and Baucis is also in that respect unusual.


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