Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

Get access

(764 words)

The term metamorphosis (Greek metamórphosis; “transformation”) derives from the ancient idea of the transformation of mortals or immortals into animals, plants, or inorganic materials. It became well-known above all through Ovid's Metamorphoses (1st century CE), which preserved for posterity a wealth of Greco-Roman metamorphosis myths. The biological phenomenon of metamorphosis was described by Aristotle and others, and had thus also been known ever since antiquity.

The expression itself, however, was introduced to the field of natural history only in 1590,…

Cite this page
Toepfer, Georg, “Metamorphosis”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 29 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_024011>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20190801

▲   Back to top   ▲