Who is Antoninus Liberalis?
His only surviving work is the Metamorphoses, 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, 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.
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.
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on July 23, 2013
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