Latin Language Blog

A Latin Love Triangle: Zeus, Echo and Narcissus PART I Posted by on Feb 29, 2020 in Latin Language

Salvete Omnes,

In the month of February what could be more appropriate than a love story. Personally, I was married on leap year (today) so again what is more fitting than a love story. So this month, we are taking a look at the famous myth of Echo and Narcissus.

The story of Echo and Narcissus is best known from book three of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a Latin narrative poem in 15 parts which emerged around AD 8, whose unifying theme is transformation. It chronicled more than 250 Classical myths and was a huge influence on Dante and Shakespeare.


ergo ubi Narcissum per devia rura vagantem               370
vidit et incaluit, sequitur vestigia furtim,
quoque magis sequitur, flamma propiore calescit,
non aliter quam cum summis circumlita taedis
admotas rapiunt vivacia sulphura flammas.


Therefore/One day, when she observed Narcissus wandering in the pathless woods, she loved him and she followed him, with soft and stealthy tread.—The more she followed him the hotter did she burn, as when the flame flares upward from the sulphur on the torch.

For the Romans, the description of such love and want is not uncommon with Ovid. Does anyone know how this story ends? We have three more parts to go over it.

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About the Author: Brittany Britanniae

Hello There! Please feel free to ask me anything about Latin Grammar, Syntax, or the Ancient World.