the journey begins

Copenhagen, Royal Library of Denmark, Thot. 399, folio 26r


Here, you will find sample translations, illustrations, and a detailed index of subjects and themes as well as other information relevant to the Ovide Moralisé.

But, you ask, what is the Ovide Moralisé, and why should I care?

The short answer is that the Ovide Moralisé is perhaps the most important work of the later French Middle Ages. However, to date, it has yet to receive the attention it deserves. This is no small part due to the fact that no modern translation of the text exists. Our project will remedy that, first by establishing a volume of Selected Tales for use by students and the general public, then by preparing a scholarly translation of the entire poem and commentary, based on Cornelius de Boer’s edition (with emendations based on the manuscript readings as deemed necessary by the translators).

Composed around the same time as Dante’s Comedia in neighboring Italy, the Ovide Moralisé played a pivotal role in transmitting descriptions of the pagan gods, of mythological figures like Orpheus and Pygmalion, and over 60,000 lines of philosophical and theological commentary to future authors and artists of the Western tradition. The surviving manuscripts contain over 1000 striking illuminations, and an index of artwork along with detailed descriptions will also figure on this site.

Come on in, and enjoy! We are also at work compiling a bibliography. If you have suggestions or have published work on the Ovide Moralisé, or simply wish to share a comment, please drop us a line.

(The Ovide Moralisé project, under the general editorship of Prof. K. Sarah-Jane Murray, is funded by a translations and editions grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities.)