Archives for: March 2010, 16

03/16/10

Permalink 11:00:11 pm, by Chris Jones Email , 204 words, 1473 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.’
(I.1.65-68)

(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.
(III.3-4)

(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…

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