Summary Aesculapius’ arrival to Rome closes a narrative chain that runs through Ovid’s epic and whose individual rings share thematic and structural correspondences. The closural character of the episode is a case study of sublime literary artistry. Additionally, the story, inspired by an event that sits at the intersection between legend and history, alludes to events or rumors tied to actual persons and situations. My discussion of the historical context of Aesculapius’ transmigration will also draw attention to a set of narrative moments inspired by contemporary reality, which link the Metamorphoses to the Fasti. This association, once again, operates on two different but interconnecting levels, as it underscores, one the one hand, the episode’s double function as both an introductory unit
and a closure device, and, on the other, the complex embedding of Ovidian poetry into contemporary political history.