Ovid Publius Ovidius Naso (born March 20, 43 BC in Sulmona) was a Roman poet who wrote on topics of love, abandoned women, and mythological transformations. Ovid is ranked alongside Virgil and Horace as one of the three canonical poets of Latin literature, and his poetry, largely imitated during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, had a decisive influence on European art and literature for centuries.
Ovid offers an epic unlike those of his predecessors, a chronological account of the cosmos from creation to his own day, incorporating many myths and legends about supernatural transformations from the Greek and Roman traditions.
Augustus banished Ovid in AD 8 to Tomis (now Constanta) on the Black Sea for reasons that remain mysterious. Ovid himself wrote that it was because of a mistake and a poem. The error itself is uncertain. Ovid may have had an affair with a female relative of Augustus, or withheld knowledge of such an affair. The poem, however, is probably his Ars Amatoria, a didactic poem offering amatory advice to Roman men and women, which had been in circulation for several years.
It was during this period of exile Ovid wrote two more collections of poems, called Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto, which illustrate his sadness and desolation away from Rome. Even though he was friendly with the natives of Tomis, he still pined for Rome and his beloved third wife. Many of the poems are addressed to her, but also to Augustus, whom he calls Caesar and sometimes god, to himself, and even sometimes to the poems themselves, which express his heart-felt solitude. Ovid died at Tomis after nearly ten years of banishment in AD 17.
Did you find this review helpful?