Archives for: March 2010, 16


Permalink 11:00:11 pm, by Chris Jones Email , 204 words, 3090 views   English (US)
Categories: Ovid's exile poetry

No Ars here...

One of the things that surprised me about the Tristia is how often Ovid references his earlier Ars Amatoria, a thn-decade old work that he thinks factored heavily in Augustus’ sentence against him. Yes, I knew about the famous carmen et error explanation for his banishment, but I still wasn’t prepared for his constant apologizing:

Siquis erit, qui te–quia sis meus–esse legendum
   Non putet, e gremio reiciatque suo,
‘Inspice’ dic ‘titulum: non sum praeceptor amoris;
   Quas meruit, poenas iam dedit illud opus.’

(te refers to the book of poetry itself; e gremio…suo - lit. “from his lap", since a reader would often place an open scroll in his/her lap.)

Neve reformida, ne sim tibi forte pudori:
   Nullus in hac charta versus amare docet.

(tibi and pudori are part of a double dative construction)

These examples also illustrate Ovid’s reuse of a familiar device: Addressing and personifying his own book of poetry. It’s a trick he’s used before–the epigram at the head of the Amores for a typical example–and IMO it gets a little tiresome here. Then again, perhaps he had no one else to talk to in Tomis…

Qui sciet quae quoque sint modo dicenda, nisi tamen in procinctu paratamque ad omnis casus habuerit eloquentiam, velut clausis thesauris incubabit.

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