In Metamorphoses 10.728-731, just before Venus causes a flower to spring from Adonis’ blood, Ovid hints at, but doesn’t describe in detail, another metamorphosis: Mint sprouting from the crushed limbs of the hell-nymph Minthe. Taking as my sources Strabo’s Geographica 8.3.14 and Oppian’s Halieutica 3.485-498, I’ve written a brief synopsis of this story.

Minthē erat nympha, Cōcȳtī flūminis īnfernī fīlia, cum quā rēx īnferōrum coīre solēbat. Cum autem Plūtō Proserpinam ab Siciliā rapuisset, Minthē īrā et dolōre furiāta sē Proserpinae fōrmā praepōnere ausa est, et exclāmāvit Plūtōnem, amōre coniugis sprētō, Proserpinam ex aedibus suīs exāctūrum, sēque ipsam in lectulum iterum acceptūrum. Proserpina haec audiēns membra Minthēs dīlaniāvit, eaque sub pedibus suīs conculcāns obtrīvit, dē quibus herba quaedam, odōris suāvitāte praesignis, ē terrā exsiluit.

Any comments, corrections, or improvements to grammar, style or content would be most welcome.

1 Answer 1


This looks very good to me! Just a couple of small suggestions for the last sentence:

  • I think his auditis would be more usual than haec audiens, which would imply simultaneity with the main verb dilaniavit.
  • sub pedibus suis strikes me as a bit clunky/unnecessary, especially the suis which is obvious from context; you could just say pedibus, and even that is already implied by conculcans.
  • Those are two really good suggestions, thank you. I’m going to incorporate both of them.
    – Patricius
    May 17, 2023 at 7:18
  • Or how about simply, ...dilaniavit, conculcataque obtrivit?
    – Cerberus
    May 18, 2023 at 20:07
  • @Cerberus: Giving: "(having been) crushed she broke into pieces (obtrivit) and rent asunder (dilaniavit)"; potent imagery! You must be familiar with the river Cocytus (Gk. "lamentation") which flows into the river Acheron? Is this, latter, then the (Roman) river Styx, on the other side of which lies the Underworld?
    – tony
    May 20, 2023 at 11:35
  • @tony: Oh, I'm terrible with directions, I just run around wildly most of the time. I believe Cocytus and Styx are commonly said to be two of the five main rivers of the underworld, but their exact courses and significance vary depending on whom you ask. They are all Greek.
    – Cerberus
    May 21, 2023 at 1:50
  • @Patricius: Are lines 3-5 to be backtranslated to: "Menthe, angry and (having been) enraged by grief, dared to put herself in the form of Proserpina, and shouted at Pluto, with the love of his wife having been put aside, Proserpina, emerging from her temples, about to hear these things again, on her couch."?
    – tony
    May 23, 2023 at 7:57

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