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By Peter E. Knox

A better half to Ovid is a accomplished evaluate of 1 of the main influential poets of classical antiquity.• gains greater than 30 newly commissioned chapters by way of famous students writing of their components of specialization• Illuminates a number of facets of Ovid's paintings, comparable to creation, style, and style• provides interpretive essays on key poems and collections of poems• comprises exact discussions of Ovid's basic literary impacts and his reception in English literature• presents a chronology of key literary and historic occasions in the course of Ovid's lifetime

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Sample text

Syme 1978: 213–14), the writings of the orator and historian Titus Labienus were condemned to be burned, and the orator Cassius Severus was exiled: this was the beginning of the real activity of censure against writers who did not conform to the political and cultural line of the regime, which was to become so important under subsequent emperors. And the elegies written in exile—whose raison d’être lies in the emperor’s condemnation of an author for his literary activity, and whose whole conception reflects, with the somber tone that the poet is forced to adopt, that new relationship of diffidence between cultural production and power which characterizes the literature of the first century of the Empire—can be considered to be the first works of ‘imperial’ Latin literature, in the waning years of Augustus’ reign.

The success that he enjoyed seemed to show that he was right. But not everybody could share this attitude, and, on the contrary, the political and cultural scene of Augustan Rome was still evolving, and was to lead to different results. The first edition of the Amores can be dated around 15 BC: Ovid therefore elaborated this new poetics of lightness in the same decade which witnessed the production of the Augustan poetry with the highest ethical ideals: the Aeneid, the Odes, and the Epistles by Horace, the second book of Tibullus, and the last two books by Propertius.

As to ‘freedom from meter’, Ovid himself in retrospect claimed that when he was still aiming to become a legal advocate he tried to write prose (uerba soluta modis) but whatever he wrote turned into verse (Tr. 24–6). What we notice first and foremost in his elegiac distichs is his command of epigrammatic brevity and paradox. But Seneca has also preserved a sample of Ovid’s prose, from a declamation on the following theme: ‘A husband and wife took an oath that if anything happened to either of them the other would die.

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