Ovid was born in Sulmo (Sulmona), in an Apennine valley, east of Rome, to an equestrian family, and was educated in Rome. His father wished him to study rhetoric toward the practice of law. According to Seneca the Elder, Ovid tended to the emotional, not the argumentative pole of rhetoric. After the death of his brother, Ovid renounced law and began travelling — to Athens, Asia Minor, and Sicily. He held minor public posts, but resigned to pursue poetry. He was part of the circle centered upon the patron Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus. He was thrice-married and twice-divorced by the time he was thirty years old; yet only one marriage yielded offspring — a daughter.

Originally, the Amores were a five-book collection, circa 20 BC; the surviving, extant version, reduced to three books, includes poems written as late as AD 1. Book 1 contains 15 elegiac love poems about aspects of love. Most of the Amores is tongue-in-cheek, and, while Ovid adhered to standard elegiac themes — such as the exclusus amator (locked-out lover) lamenting before a paraklausithyron (a locked door) — he portrays himself as romantically capable, not emotionally struck by it, (unlike Propertius, whose poetry portrays him under love's foot). He writes about adultery, rendered illegal in Augustus's marriage law reforms of 18 BC. Ovid's next poem, the Ars Amatoria, the Art of Love, parodies didactic poetry whilst being a manual about seduction and intrigue; and it refers to the ludus duodecim scriptorum board game, an antecedent of modern backgammon. He identifies this work in his exile poetry as the carmen, or song, which was one cause of his banishment.

By AD 8, he had completed Metamorphoses, an epic poem derived from Greek mythology. The subject is "forms changed into new bodies". From the emergence of the cosmos from formless mass to the organized, material world, to the deification of Julius Caesar, the poem tells of transformation. The stories follow each other in the telling of human beings transformed to new bodies — trees, rocks, animals, flowers, constellations et cetera. Famous myths, such as Apollo and Daphne, Orpheus and Eurydice, and Pygmalion are contained. It explains many myths alluded to in other works, and is a valuable source about Roman religion, because many characters are gods or offspring of Olympian gods.

In AD 8, Emperor Augustus banished Ovid to Tomis, on the Black Sea, for political reasons. Ovid wrote that his crime was carmen et error — "a poem and a mistake", claiming that his crime was worse than murder, more harmful than poetry. The Emperor's grandchildren, Agrippa Postumus and Julia the Younger, were banished around the time of his banishment; Julia's husband, Lucius Aenilius Paullus, was put to death for conspiracy against Augustus; Ovid might have known of that. The Julian Marriage Laws of 18 BC were fresh in the Roman mind. These promoted monogamous marriage to increase the population's birth rate. Ovid's writing concerned the serious crime of adultery, which was punishable by banishment.

more

Ovid Poems

Salmacis And Hermaphroditus

HOW Salmacis with weak enfeebling streams
Softens the body, and unnerves the limbs,
And what the secret cause shall here be shown;... more »

On Fidelity

I don't ask you to be faithful - you're beautiful, after all -
but just that I be spared the pain of knowing.
I make no stringent demands that you should really be chaste,
but only that you try to cover up.... more »

Pygmalion And The Statue

PYGMALION loathing their lascivious Life,
Abhorred all Womankind, but most a Wife:
So single chose to live, and shunned to wed,... more »

Ovid Quotes

Comments about Ovid

yes i did 15 Feb 2018 01:49
he ated chicken dsddsddsddssdsdsddssdsdsddsdssddssddssdds
Fabrizio Frosini 04 Jan 2016 08:16
Ovid was a profusely talented Roman author who achieved recognition for his numerous contributions to literature. He is also credited to have influenced future literature masterpieces’ of many great authors including the likes of Shakespeare himself. Ovid was renowned for a large number of his works. However, it was undoubtedly his three major collections of erotic poetry [: Heroids, Amores and Ars Amatoria] that were really celebrated. They were simply brilliant and inspired. He also earned fame as the author of the Metamorphoses; a mythological hexameter poem, which is believed to have inspired some of literature’s finest authors such as; Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dante, and Milton.
Fabrizio Frosini 04 Jan 2016 08:15
His first recitation was around 25 BC, when Ovid was 18. Initially, Ovid wrote in the elegiac tradition of Roman poets Sextus Propertius and Albius Tibullus, both of whom he revered. Ovid’s Amores are erotic poems based on Corinna – an imaginary woman; detailing Ovid’s love for her. Ovid went on to write the Metamorphoses, in 15 books; famed as a manual of Greek mythology. His Fasti is a popular, calendar telling the different Roman festivals and the myths associated with each. Ovid’s works during his exile are infused with melancholy and sadness and mainly talk about his longing for his former life and appeals to be released. .