Morpheus (mythology)

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For other uses, see Morpheus.
Morpheus and Iris, by Pierre-Narcisse Guérin, 1811

Morpheus (/ˈmɔrfiəs/ or /ˈmɔrfjuːs/) is a god of dreams who appears in Ovid's Metamorphoses. Morpheus has the ability to mimic any human form and appear in dreams. His true semblance is that of a winged daemon, imagery shared with many of his siblings. Starting in the medieval period, the name Morpheus began to stand generally for the god of dreams or of sleep.[1]

In Ovid[edit]

The Roman poet Ovid states in his Metamorphoses that Morpheus is a son of Somnus and reports that he had a thousand siblings, with Morpheus, Phobetor and Phantasos being merely the most prominent among them.[2]


In language[edit]

  • The name of the opiate drug Morphine is derived from the name of Morpheus.


  1. ^ Kearns (1996)
  2. ^ Ovid, Metamorphoses xi.585ff.


  • Griffin, A. H. F. (1997), A Commentary on Ovid, Metamorphoses XI, Hermathena, 162/163, Dublin, JSTOR 23041237 .
  • Kearns, E. (1996), "Morpheus", in S. Hornblower & A. Spawforth (eds.), Oxford Classical Dictionary (3rd rev. ed.), Oxford, ISBN 9780198661726 .

External links[edit]