Heroides ; and, Amores

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Harvard University Press, Dec 31, 1977 - Biography & Autobiography - 527 pages
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Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso, 43 BCE -17 CE ), born at Sulmo, studied rhetoric and law at Rome. Later he did considerable public service there, and otherwise devoted himself to poetry and to society. Famous at first, he offended the emperor Augustus by his Ars Amatoria, and was banished because of this work and some other reason unknown to us, and dwelt in the cold and primitive town of Tomis on the Black Sea. He continued writing poetry, a kindly man, leading a temperate life. He died in exile. Ovid's main surviving works are the Metamorphoses, a source of inspiration to artists and poets including Chaucer and Shakespeare; the Fasti, a poetic treatment of the Roman year of which Ovid finished only half; the Amores, love poems; the Ars Amatoria, not moral but clever and in parts beautiful; Heroides, fictitious love letters by legendary women to absent husbands; and the dismal works written in exile: the Tristia, appeals to persons including his wife and also the emperor; and similar Epistulae ex Ponto. Poetry came naturally to Ovid, who at his best is lively, graphic and lucid. The Loeb Classical Library edition of Ovid is in six volumes.

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About the author (1977)

Born of an equestrian family in Sulmo, Ovid was educated in rhetoric in Rome but gave it up for poetry. He counted Horace and Propertius among his friends and wrote an elegy on the death of Tibullus. He became the leading poet of Rome but was banished in 8 A.D. by an edict of Augustus to remote Tomis on the Black Sea because of a poem and an indiscretion. Miserable in provincial exile, he died there ten years later. His brilliant, witty, fertile elegiac poems include Amores (Loves), Heroides (Heroines), and Ars Amatoris (The Art of Love), but he is perhaps best known for the Metamorphoses, a marvelously imaginative compendium of Greek mythology where every story alludes to a change in shape. Ovid was admired and imitated throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Jonson knew his works well. His mastery of form, gift for narration, and amusing urbanity are irresistible.