1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ovid

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OVID [Publius Ovidius Naso] (43 B.C.–A.D. 17), Roman poet, the last of the Augustan age, was born in 43 B.C., the last year of the republic, the year of the death of Cicero. Thus the only form of political life known to Ovid was that of the absolute rule of Augustus and his successor. His character was neither strengthened nor sobered, like that of his older contemporaries, by personal recollection of the crisis through which the republic passed into the empire. There is no sense of political freedom in his writings. The spirit inherited from his ancestors was that of the Italian country districts, not that of Rome. He was born on the 20th of March (his self-consciousness has preserved the exact day of the month)[1] at Sulmo, now Sulmona, a town of the Paeligni, picturesquely situated among the mountains of the Abruzzi: its wealth of waters and natural beauties seem to have strongly affected the young poet's imagination (for he often speaks of them with affectionate admiration) and to have quickened in him that appreciative eye for the beauties of nature which is one of the chief characteristics of his poems. The Paehgni were one of the four small mountain peoples whose proudest memories were of the part they had played in the Social War. But in spite of this they had no old race-hostility with Rome, and their opposition to the senatorial aristocracy in the Social War would predispose them to accept the empire. Ovid, whose father was of equestrian family, belonged by birth to the same social class as Tibullus and Propertius, that of old hereditary landowners; but he was more fortunate than they in the immunity which his native district enjoyed from the confiscations made by the triumvirs. His vigorous vitality was apparently a gift transmitted to him by heredity; for he tells us that his father hved till the age of ninety, and that he performed the funeral rites to his mother after his father's death. While he mentions both with the piety characteristic of the old Italian, he tells us little more about them than that “their thrift curtailed his youthful expenses,”[2] and that his father did what he could to dissuade him from poetry, and force him into the more profitable career of the law. He and his brother had been brought early to Rome for their education, where they attended the lectures of two most eminent teachers of rhetoric, Arellius Fuscus and Porcius Latro, to which influence is due the strong rhetorical element in Ovid's style. He is said to have attended these lectures eagerly, and to have shown in his exercises that his gift was poetical rather than oratorical, and that he had a distaste for the severer processes of thought.

Like Pope, "he lisped in numbers,"[3] and he wrote and destroyed many verses before he published anything. The earliest edition of the Amores, which first appeared in five books, and the Heroides were given by him to the world at an early age. "Virgil," he informs us, " he had only seen "; but Virgil's friend and contemporary Aemilius Macer used to read his didactic poems to him; and even the fastidious Horace some times delighted his ears with the music of his verse. He had a close bond of intimacy with the younger poets of the older generation—Tibullus, whose death he laments in one of the few pathetic pieces among his earlier writings, and Propertius, to whom he describes himself as united in the close ties of comradeship. The name of Maecenas he nowhere mentions. The time of his influence was past when Ovid entered upon his poetical career. But the veteran politician Messalla, the friend of Tibullus, together with his powerful son Cotta Messalhnus and Fabius Ma.ximus, who are mentioned together by Juvenal[4] along with Maecenas as types of munificent patrons of letters, and other influential persons whose names are preserved in the Epistles from Pontus, encouraged his literary efTorts and extended to him their support. He enjoyed also the intimacy of poets and literary men, chiefly of the younger generation, whose names he enumerates in Ex Ponto, iv. 16, though, with the exception of Domitius Marsus and Grattius, they are scarcely more than names to us. With the older poet, Macer, he travelled for more than a year. Whether this was immediately after the completion of his education, or in the interval between the publication of his earlier poems and that of the Medea and Ars amatoria is unknown, but it is in his later works, the Fasli and Metamorphoses, that we chiefly recognize the impressions of the scenes he visited. In one of the Epistles from Pontus (ii. 10) to his fellow-traveller there is a vivid record of the pleasant time they had passed together. Athens was to a Roman then what Rome is to an educated Englishman of the present day. Ovid speaks of having gone there under the influence of literary enthusiasm, and a similar impulse induced him to visit the supposed site of Troy. The two friends saw together the illustrious cities of Asia, which had inspired the enthusiasm of travel in Catullus, and had become familiar to Cicero and Horace during the years they passed abroad. They spent nearly a year in Sicily, which attracted him, as it had attracted Lucretius[5] and Virgil,[6] by its manifold charm of climate, of sea-shore and inland scenery, and of legendary and poetical association. He recalls with a fresh sense of pleasure the incidents of their tour, and the endless delight which they had in each other's conversation. We would gladly exchange the record of his life of pleasure in Rome for more of these recollections. The highest type of classic Roman culture shows its affinity to that of modern times by nothing more clearly than the enthusiasm for travel among lands famous for their natural beauty, their monuments of art and their historical associations.

When settled at Rome, although a public career leading to senatorial position was open to him, and although he filled various minor judicial posts and claims to have filled them well, he had no ambition for such distinction, and looked upon pleasure and poetry as the occupations of his life. He was three times married; when little more than a boy to his first wife, whom he naively describes as unworthy of himself:[7] but he was soon separated from her and took a second wife, with whom his union, although through no fault of hers, did not last long. She was probably the mother of his one daughter. Later he was joined to a third wife, of whom he always speaks with affection and respect. She was a lady of the great Fabian house, and thus connected with his powerful patron Fabius Maximus, and was a friend of the empress Livia. It therefore seems likely that he may have been admitted into the intimacy of the younger society of the Palatine, although in the midst of his most fulsome flattery he does not claim ever to have enjoyed the favour of Augustus. His liaison with his mistress Corinna, whom he celebrates in the Amores, took place probably in the period between his first and second, or between his second and third marriages. It is doubtful whether Corinna was, like Catullus Lesbia, a lady of recognized position, or whether she belonged to the same class as the Chloes and Lalages of Horace's artistic fancy. If we can trust the poet's later apologies for his life, in which he states that he had never given occasion for any serious scandal, it is probable that she belonged to the class of libertine. However that may be, Ovid is not only a less constant but he is a less serious lover than his great predecessors Catullus, Tibullus and Propertius. His tone is that either of mere sensuous feeling or of irony. In his complete emancipation from all restraint he goes beyond them, and thus reflects the tastes and spirit of fashionable Rome between the years 20 B.C. and the beginning of our era. Society was then bent simply on amusement; and, as a result partly of the loss of political interests, women came to play a more important and brilliant part in its life than they had done before. Julia, the daughter of the emperor, was by her position, her wit and beauty, and her reckless dissipation, the natural leader of such a society. But the discovery of her intrigue (2 B.C.) with Iulus Antonius, the son of Mark Antony, was deeply resented by Augustus as being at once a shock to his affections and a blow to his policy of moral reform. Julia was banished and disinherited; Antonius and her many lovers were punished; and the Roman world awoke from its fool's paradise of pleasure. Nearly coincidently with this scandal appeared Ovid's Ars amatoria, perhaps the most immoral work ever written by a man of genius, though not the most demoralizing, since it is entirely free from morbid sentiment. By its brilliancy and heartlessness it appealed to the prevailing taste of the fashionable world; but its appearance excited deep resentment in the mind of the emperor, as is shown by his edict, issued ten years later, against the book and its author. Augustus had the art of dissembling his anger; and Ovid appears to have had no idea of the storm that was gathering over him. He still continued to enjoy the society of the court and the fashionable world; he passed before the emperor in the annual procession among the ranks of the equites; and he developed a richer vein of genius than he had shown in his youthful prime. But he was aware that public opinion had been shocked, or professed to be shocked, by his last work; and after writing a kind of apology for it, called the emedia amoris, he turned to other subjects, and wrote during the next ten years the Metamorphoses and the Fasti. He had already written the Heroides, in which he had imparted a modern and romantic interest to the heroines of the old mythology,[8] and a tragedy, the Medea, which must have afforded greater scope for the dramatic and psychological treatment of the passion with which he was most familiar. In the Fasti Ovid assumes the position of a national poet[9] by imparting poetical life and interest to the ceremonial observances of the Roman religion; but it is as the brilliant narrator of the romantic tales that were so strangely blended with the realistic annals of Rome that he succeeds in the part assumed by him. The Metamorphoses is a narrative poem which recounts legends in which the miraculous involved transformations of shape. Beginning with the change from Chaos to Cosmos, legends first Greek and then Roman are passed in review, concluding with the metamorphosis of Julius Caesar into a star and a promise of immortality to Augustus. The long series of stories, which consist to a large extent of tales of the love adventures of the gods with nymphs and the daughters of men, is strongly tinged with Alexandrine influence, being in fact a succession of epyllia in the Alexandrine manner. This work, which Ovid regards as his most serious claim to immortality, had not been finally revised at the time of his disgrace, and in his despair he burnt it; but other copies were in existence, and when he was at Tomi it was published at Rome by one of his friends. He often regrets that it had not received his final revision. The Fasti also was broken off by his exile, after the publication of the first six books, treating of the first six months of the year.

Ovid assigns two causes for his banishment, his Ars amatoria, and an actual offence.[10] What this was is not known, but his frequent references to it enable us to conjecture its character. He tells us that there was no breach of law on his part; he distinctly disclaims having been concerned in any treasonable plot: his fault was a mistake of judgment (error), an unpremeditated act of folly. He had been an unintentional witness of some culpable act committed by another or others—of some act which nearly affected the emperor, and the mention of which was likely to prove offensive to him. Ovid himself had reaped no personal gain from his conduct. Though his original act was a pardonable error, he had been prevented by timidity from atoning for it subsequently by taking the straightforward course. In a letter to an intimate friend, to whom he had been in the habit of confiding all his secrets, he says that had he confided this one he would have escaped condemnation.[11] In writing to another friend he warns him against the danger of courting too high society. This offence, which excited the anger of Augustus, was connected in some way with the publication of the Ars amatoria, since that fact was recited by the emperor in his sentence. All this points to his having been mixed up in a scandal affecting the imperial family, and seems to connect him with one event, coincident with the time of his disgrace (A.D. 9), the intrigue of the younger Julia, granddaughter of Augustus, with D. Silanus, mentioned by Tacitus.[12] Augustus deeply felt these family scandals, looking upon them as acts of treason and sacrilege. Julia was banished to the island of Trimerus, off the coast of Apulia. Silanus withdrew into voluntary exile. The chief punishment fell on Ovid, who was banished. The poet at the worst could only have been a confidant of the intrigue; but Augustus must have regarded him and his works as, if not the corrupter of the age, at least the most typical representative of that corruption which had tainted so direly even the imperial family. Ovid's form of banishment was the mildest possible (relegalio); it involved no deprivation of civic rights, and left him the possession of his property. He was ordered to remove to the half-Greek, half-barbaric town of Tomi, near the mouth of the Danube. He recounts vividly the agony of his last night in Rome, and the hardships of his November voyage down the Adriatic and up the Gulf of Corinth to Lechaeum, where he crossed the isthmus and took ship again from Cenchreae to Samothrace, whence in the following spring he proceeded overland through Thrace to his destination. For eight years he bore up in his dreary solitude, suffering from the unhealthiness of the climate and the constant alarm of inroads of barbarians. In the hope of procuring a remission of his punishment he wrote poetical complaints, first in the series of the five books of the Tristia, sent successively to Rome, addressed to friends whose names he suppresses; afterwards in a number of poetical epistles, the Epistiilae ex Ponto, addressed by name to friends who were likely to have influence at court. He believed that Augustus had softened towards him before his death, but his successor Tiberius was inexorable to his appeals. His chief consolation was the exercise of his art, though as time goes on he is painfully conscious of failure in power. But although the works written by him in exile lack the finished art of his earlier writings, their personal interest is greater. They have, like the letters of Cicero to Atticus, the fascination exercised by those works which have been given to the world under the title of Confessions; they are a sincere literary expression of the state of mind produced by a unique experience—that of a man, when well advanced in years but still retaining extraordinary sensibility to pleasure and pain, withdrawn from a brilliant social and intellectual position, and cast upon his own resources in a place and among people affording the dreariest contrast to the brightness of his previous life. How far these confidences are to be regarded as equally sincere expressions of his affection or admiration for his correspondents is another question. Even in those addressed to his wife, though he speaks of her with affection and respect, there may perhaps be detected a certain ring of insincerity in his conventional comparisons of her to the Penelopes and Laodamias of ancient legend. Had she been a Penelope or Laodamia she would have accompanied him in his exile, as we learn from Tacitus was done by other wives[13] in the more evil days of which he wrote the record. The letters, which compose the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto, are addressed either to his wife, the emperor, or the general reader, or to his patrons and friends. To his patrons he writes in a vein of supplication, beseeching them to use their influence on his behalf. To his rather large circle of intimate acquaintances he writes in the language of familiarity, and often of affectionate regard; he seeks the sympathy of some, and speaks with bitterness of the coldness of others, and in three poems[14] he complains of the relentless hostility of the enemy who had contributed to procure his exile, and whom he attacked in the Ibis. There is a note of true affection in the letter to the young lyric poetess Perilla, of whose genius and beauty he speaks with pride, and whose poetic talents he had fostered by friendly criticism.[15] He was evidently a man of gentle and genial manners; and, as his active mind induced him to learn the language of the new people among whom he was thrown, his active interest in life enabled him to gain their regard and various marks of honour. One of his last acts was to revise the Fasti, and re-edit it with a dedication to Germanicus. The closing lines of the Epistulae ex Ponto sound like the despairing sigh of a drowning man who had long struggled alone with the waves:-

"Omnia perdidimus: tantummodo vita relicta est,
Praebeat ut sensum materiamque mali."

Shortly after these words were written he died in his sixty-first year in A.D. 17, the fourth year of the reign of Tiberius.

The temperament of Ovid, as indicated in his writings, has more in common with the suppleness of the later Italian than with the strength and force of the ancient Roman. That stamp of her own character and understanding which Rome impressed on the genius of those other races which she incorporated with herself is fainter in Ovid than in any other great writer. He ostentatiously disclaims the manliness which in the republican times was regarded as the birthright not of Romans only but of the Sabellian races from which he sprang. He is as devoid of dignity in his abandonment to pleasure as in the weakness with which he meets calamity. He has no depth of serious conviction, no vein of sober reflection, and is sustained by no great or elevating purpose. Although the beings of a supernatural world fill a large place in his writings, they appear stripped of all sanctity and mystery. It is difficult to say whether the tone of his references to the gods and goddesses of mythology implies a kind of half-believing return to the most childish elements of paganism, or is simply one of mocking unbelief. He has absolutely no reverence, and consequently inspires no reverence in his reader. With all a poet's feeling for the life, variety and subtlety of nature, he has no sense of her mystery and majesty. The love which he celebrates is sensual and superficial, a matter of vanity as much as of passion. He prefers the piquant attraction of falsehood and fickleness to the charm of truth and constancy. Even where he follows the Roman tendencies in his art he perverts them. The Fasti is a work conceived in the prosaic spirit of Roman antiquarianism. It is redeemed from being prosaic by the picturesqueness and vivacity with which the legends are told. But its conception might have been more poetical if it had been penetrated by the religious and patriotic spirit with which Virgil invests ancient ceremonies, and the mysticism with which he accepts the revelations of science. In this respect the contrast is great between the reverential treatment which the trivialities of legend and science receive in the Georgics and Aeneid, and the literal definiteness of the Fasti.

These defects in strength and gravity show a corresponding result in Ovid's writings. Though possessing diligence, perseverance and literary ambition, he seems incapable of conceiving a great and serious whole. Though a keen observer of the superficial aspects of life, he has added few great thoughts to the intellectual heritage of the world.[16] But with all the levity of his character he must have had qualities which made him, if not much esteemed, yet much liked in his own day, and which are apparent in the genial amiability of his writings. He claims for himself two virtues highly prized by the Romans, fides and candor—the qualities of social honour and kindly sincerity. There is no indication of anything base, ungenerous or morose in his relations to others. Literary candor, the generous appreciation of all sorts of excellence, he possesses in a remarkable degree. He heartily admires everything in literature, Greek or Roman, that had any merit. In him more than any of the Augustan poets we find words of admiration applied to the rude genius of Ennius and the majestic style of Accius. It is by him, not by Virgil or Horace, that Lucretius is first named and his sublimity is first acknowledged.[17] The image of Catullus that most haunts the imagination is that of the poet who died so early—

"hedera iuvenalia cinctus

as he is represented by Ovid coming to meet the shade of the young Tibullus in Elysium.[18] To his own contemporaries, known and unknown to fame, he is as liberal in his words of recognition.[19] He enjoyed society too in a thoroughly amiable and unenvious spirit. He lived on a friendly footing with a large circle of men of letters, poets, critics, grammarians, &c., but he showed none of that sense of superiority which is manifest in Horace's estimate of the "tribes of grammarians" and the poetasters of his day. Like Horace too he courted the society of the great, though probably not with equal independence; but unlike Horace he expresses no contempt for the humbler world outside. With his irony and knowledge of the world it might have been expected that he would become the social satirist of his age. But he lacked the censorious and critical temper, and the admixture of gall necessary for a successful satirist. In his exile he did retaliate on one enemy and persistent detractor in the Ibis, a poem written in imitation of a similar work by Callimachus; but the Ibis is not a satire, but an invective remarkable rather for recondite learning than for epigrammatic sting.

But Ovid's chief personal endowment was his vivacity, and his keen interest in and enjoyment of life. He had no grain of discontent in his composition; no regrets for an ideal past, or longings for an imaginary future. The age in which he lived was, as he tells us, that in which more than any other he would have wished to live.[20] He is its most gifted representative, but he does not rise above it. The great object of his art was to amuse and delight it by the vivid picture he presented of its fashions and pleasures, and by creating a literature of romance which reflected them, and which could stimulate the curiosity and fascinate the fancy of a society too idle and luxurious for serious intellectual effort. The sympathy which he felt for the love adventures of his contemporaries, to which he probably owed his fall, quickened his creative power in the composition of the Heroides and the romantic tales of the Metamorphoses. None of the Roman poets can people a purely imaginary world with such spontaneous fertility of fancy as Ovid. In heart and mind he is inferior to Lucretius and Catullus, to Virgil and Horace, perhaps to Tibullus and Propertius; but in the power and range of imaginative vision he is surpassed by no ancient and by few modern poets. This power of vision is the counterpart of his lively sensuous nature. He has a keener eye for the apprehension of outward beauty, for the life and colour and forms of nature, than any Roman or perhaps than any Greek poet. This power, acting upon the wealth of his varied reading, gathered with eager curiosity and received into a singularly retentive mind, has enabled him to depict with consummate skill and sympathy legendary scenes of the most varied and picturesque beauty. If his tragedy, the Medea, highly praised by ancient critics, had been preserved, we should have been able to judge whether Roman art was capable of producing a great drama. In many of the Heroides, and in several speeches scattered through his works, he gives evidence of true dramatic creativeness. Unlike his great predecessor Catullus, he has little of the idyllic in his art, or whatever of idyllic there is in it is lost in the rapid movement of his narrative. But he is one, among the poets of all times, who can imagine a story with the most vivid inventiveness and tell it with the most unflagging animation. The faults of his verse and diction are those which arise from the vitality of his temperament—too facile a flow, too great exuberance of illustration. He has as little sense of the need of severe restraint in his art as in his life. He is not without mannerism, but he is quite unaffected, and, however far short he might fall of the highest excellence of verse or style, it was not possible for him to be rough or harsh, dull or obscure.

As regards the school of art to which he belongs, he may be described as the most brilliant representative of Roman Alexandrinism. The latter half of the Augustan age was, in its social and intellectual aspects, more like the Alexandrine age than any other era of antiquity. The Alexandrine age was like the Augustan, one of refinement and luxury, of outward magnificence and literary dilettantism flourishing under the fostering influence of an absolute monarchy. Poetry was the most important branch of literature cultivated, and the chief subjects of poetry were mythological tales, various phases of the passion of love, the popular aspects of science and some aspects of the beauty of nature. These two were the chief subjects of the later Augustan poetry. The higher feelings and ideas which found expression in the poetry of Virgil, Horace and the writers of an older generation no longer acted on the Roman world. It was to the private tastes and pleasures of individuals and society that Roman alexandrinism had appealed both in the poetry of Catullus, Cinna, Calvus and their school, and in that of Gallus, Tibullus and Propertius. Ovid was the last of this class of writers.

His extant works fall naturally into three divisions, those of his youth, of middle life and of his later years. To the first of these divisions belong the amatory poems: (i) the three books of Amores (originally five, but reduced in a later recension to three) relating to his amours with his mistress Corinna; (2) the Medicamina formae, or, as it is sometimes called Medicamina faciei, a fragment of a hundred lines on the use of cosmetics; (3) the three books of the Ars amaioria, rules for men and women by which they may gain the affections of the other sex; (4) the Remedia amoris (one book), a kind of recantation of the Ars amatoria. To the second division belong (5) the fifteen books of the Metamorphoses, and (6) the six books of the 'Fasti, which was originally intended to be in twelve books, but which breaks off the account of the Roman calendar with the month of June. To the third division belong (7) the five books of the Tristia, (8) the Ibis, an invective against an enemy who had assisted to procure his fall, written in elegiac couplets probably soon after his exile; (g) the four books of Epislulae ex Panto. Of these the first three were published soon after the Trislia, while the fourth book is a collection of scattered poems published by some friend soon after the author's death. The Halieutica is a didactic fragment in hexameters on the natural history of fishes, of doubtful genuineness, though it is certain that Ovid did begin such a work at the close of his life.

In his extant works Ovid confined himself to two metres the elegiac couplet and the hexameter. The great mass of his poetry is written in the first; while the Metamorphoses and the {{lang|lat|Halieutica]] are composed in the second. Of the elegiac couplet he is the acknowledged master. By fixing it into a uniform, mould he brought it to its highest perfection; and the fact that the great mass of elegiac verse written subsequently has endeavoured merely to reproduce the echo of his rhythm is evidence of his preminence. In the direct expression and illustration of feeling his elegiac metre has more ease, vivacity and sparkle than that of any of his predecessors, while he alone has communicated to it, without altering its essential characteristic of recurrent and regular pauses, a fluidity and rapidity of movement which make it an admirable vehicle for pathetic and picturesque narrative. It was impossible for him to give to the hexameter greater perfection, but he imparted to it also a new character, wanting indeed the weight and majesty and intricate harmonics of Virgil, but rapid, varied, animated in complete accord with the swift, versatile and fervid movement of his imagination. One other proof he gave of his irrepressible energy by composing during his exile a poem in the Getic (Gothic) language in praise of Augustus, Tiberius and the imperial family, the loss of which, whatever it may have been to literature, is much to be regretted in the interests of philology.

It was in Ovid's writings that the world of romance and wonder created by Greek imagination was first revealed to modern limes. The vivid fancy, the transparent lucidity, the liveliness, ease and directness through which he reproduced his models made his works the most accessible and among the most attractive of the recovered treasures of antiquity. His influence was first felt in the literature of the Italian Renaissance. But in the most creative periods of English literature he seems to have been read more than any other ancient poet, not even excepting Virgil, and it was on minds such as those of Marlowe, Spenser, Shakespeare[21], Milton and Dryden that he acted most powerfully. His influence is equally unmistakable during the classical era of Addison and Pope. The most successful Latin verse of modern times has been written in imitation of him; the faculty of literary composition and feeling for ancient Roman culture has been largely developed in the great schools of England and France by the writing of Ovidian elegiacs. His works afforded also abundant stimulus and materials to the great painters who flourished during and immediately after the Renaissance. Thus his first claim on the attention of modern readers is the influence which he has exercised on the development of literature and art; for this, if for no other reason, his works must always retain an importance second only to those of Virgil and Horace.

He is interesting further as the sole contemporary exponent of the last half of the Augustan age, the external aspects and inner spirit of which is known from the works, not of contemporary historians or prose-writers, but from its poets. The successive phases of Roman feeling and experience during this critical period are revealed in the poetry of Virgil, Horace and Ovid. Virgil throws an idealizing and religious halo around the hopes and aspirations of the nascent empire. Horace presents the most complete image of its manifold aspects, realistic and ideal. Ovid reflects the life of the world of wealth and fashion under the influence of the new court, its material prosperity, its refinement, its frivolity and its adulation. For the continuous study of the Roman world in its social and moral relations his place is important as marking the transition between the representation of Horace, in which the life of pleasure and amusement has its place, but is subordinate to the life of reflection and serious purpose, and that life which reveals itself in the cynicism of Martial and the scornful indignation of Juvenal. He is the last true poet of the great age of Roman literature, which begins with Lucretius and closes with him. No Roman poet writes with such vivacity and fertility of fancy; in respect of these two qualities we recognize in him the countryman of Cicero and Livy. But the type of genius of which he affords the best example is more familiar in modern Italian than in ancient Roman literature. While the serious spirit of Lucretius and Virgil reappeared in Dante, it is Ariosto who may be said to reproduce the light-hearted gaiety and brilliant fancy of Ovid.

Bibliography.—The life of Ovid was first treated systematically by J. Masson, Ovidii vita ordine chronologico digesta (1780) (often reprinted, e.g. in Burmann's edition). Modern literature on this subject will be found in Teuffel's History of Roman Literature (Eng. trans., ed. 2), § 247, and S. G. Owen's edition of Tristia, bk. i. The very numerous manuscripts of Ovid are chiefly of late date, 13th to 15th century. The earliest and best are: for the Heroides a Paris MS. of the 9th, a Wolfenbuttel MS. of the 12th and an Eton fragmentary MS. of the 11th century (the Epistula Sapphus, found in no early MS., is best preserved in a 13th-century Frankfort, and a 15th-century Harleian MS.); for the Amores, Ars amatoria, Remedia amoris, two Paris MSS. of the 9th and 10th century respectively; for the Medicamina formae a Florence MS. (Marcianus) of the 11th; for the Metamorphoses two Florence MSS. (Marcianus and Laurentianus) and a Naples MS., all of the 11th century; for the Fasti two Vatican MSS. of the 10th and 11th century; for the Tristia a Florence MS. of the 11th; for the Epistulae ex Ponto a fragmentary Wolfenbüttel MS. of the 6th and a Hamburg and two Munich MSS. of the 12th; for the Ibis a Trinity College, Cambridge, MS. of the 12th; for the Halieutica a Paris MS. of the 9th or 10th, and a Vienna MS. of the 9th century. Important for the text of the Heroides and Metamorphoses is the interesting paraphrase written in Greek by the monk Maximus Planudes in the latter half of the 13th century at Constantinople; that of the Heroides is printed in Palmer's edition of the Heroides (1898), that of the Metamorphoses in Lemaire's edition of Ovid, vol. v., edited by Boissonade. See also Gudeman, De Heroidum Ovidii codice Planudeo (Berlin, 1888).

Two independent editiones principles of Ovid were published contemporaneously in 1471, one at Rome, printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz, and one at Bologna by Balthasar Azoguidius: these present entirely different texts. See Owen's Trislium libri, v. p. Iv. ff. The following are the most important editions: those marked with an asterisk have explanatory notes. Of the whole works: *Heinsius-Burmann (1727); *Amar-Lemaire (1820-1824); Merkel-Ehwald (1874-1888); Riese (1871-1889); Postgate's Corpus poetarum Latinorum, by various editors (1894), reprinted separately (1898). Of separate works: Amores, *Nemethy (1907); Heroides, Sedlmayer (critical) (1886); *Palmer (1898); Epistula Sapphus (separately), *De Vries (1888); Ars amatoria, *P. Brandt (1902); Medicamina formae (critical), Kunz (1881); Metamorphoses, *J. C. Jahn (1821); *Loers (1843); Korn (critical) (1880); *Magnus (1885); *Haupt-Ehwald (1898-1903); Fasti, *Gierig (1812); Merkel (1841) (critical, with learned prolegomena on the sources, the Roman calendar, &c.); *Keightley (1848); *Paley (1854); *Peter (1889); Tristia, *Loers (1839); S. G. Owen (1889) (critical), *Bk. i. (1885), *Bk. iii. (1889); *Cocchia (1900); Epistulae ex Ponto, Korn (1868) (critical), Bk.i. Keene (1887); *Ellis (1881); Halieutica, *Birt, De Halieuticis Ovidio poetae falso adscriptis (1878). The following verse translations in English deserve mention: Amores, C. Marlowe (1600) (?); Heroides, Turbervile (1579); Saltonstall (1639); Sherburne (1639), various hands, preface by Dryden (3rd edition, 1683); Art of Love and Remedy of Love, Creed (1600); Dryden and others (1709); Metamorphoses, Golding (1567); Sandys (1626); Dryden and others (1717); King (1871); Fasti, Gower (1640); Rose (1866); Tristia, Saltonstall (1633); Catlin (1639); Churchyarde (1816); Epistles from Pontus, Saltonstal (1639); Jones (1658).

The special treatises on matters connected with Ovid are very numerous; a fairly complete list up to the time of publication is given in Owen's Tristia (critical edition), p. cviii. ff.; in Teuffel's History of Roman Literature (trans. by Warr) and in Schanz's Geschichte der romischen Litteratur; and in the excellent critical digests of recent literature by Ehwald in the Jahresbericht über die Fortschritte der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, xxxi. (1884) pp. 157 ff., lxxx. (1894) pp. 1, ff., cix. (1902) pp. 157 ff. The following deserve special mention. On the history of the text: Ehwald, Ad historiam carminum Ovidianorum symbolae (1889); Kritische Beiträge zu Ovids Epistulae ex Ponto (1896); Sedlmayer, Prolegomena ad Heroidas (1878); Gruppe, Minos, pp. 441 ff. (on interpolations). On style: Ovid's diction in connexion with other writers,—A. Zingerle, Ovidius und sein Verhältnis zu den Vorgängern (1869-1871); Martial's Ovid-Studien (1877); W. Zingerle, Untersuchungen zur Echtheitsfrage der Heroiden Ovids (1878); W. Vollgrafff, Nikander und Ovid (Groningen, 1909 foll.). Peculiarities of Ovid's style: van Iddekinge, De Ovidii Romani inris peritia (1811); Washietl, De similitudinibus imaginibusque Ovidianis (1883); M'Crea, On Ovid's Use of Colour and Colour Terms (Classical studies in honour of H. Drisler) (1894). Metre: the structure of the Ovidian pentameter examined in relation to the textual criticism,—Hilberg, Gesetze der Wortstellung im Pentameter des Ovid (1894) (fully reviewed by Ellis, Classical Review, ix. 157). Literary appreciation: Sellar, Roman Poets of the Augustan Age; Lafaye, Les Metamorphoses d'Ovid et leurs modèles grecs. Ovid's relation to works of art: Wunderer, Ovids Werke in ihrem Verhältnis zur antiken Kunst (1890-1891); Engelmann, Bilder-Atlas zu Ovid's Metamorphosen (1890). Cause of exile: the most interesting discussion is by Boissier in his L'Opposition sous les Cesars. See also Nageotte, Ovide, sa vie, ses æuvres (1872); Huber, Die Ursachen der Verbannung des Ovid (1888). Influence of Ovid upon Shakespeare: T. S. Baynes, Shakespeare Studies (1894), pp. 195 ff.; Constable, Shakespeare's "Venus und Adonis" in Verhältnis zu Ovid's Metamorphosen (1890). ( S. G. O. )

  1. Trist. iv. 10. 13.
  2. Am. i. 3. 10.
  3. Trisl. iv. 10. 26 "et quod temptabam scribere, versus erat."
  4. Juv. vii. 95.
  5. Lucret. i. 726

    quae cum magna modis multis miranda videtur
    gentibus humanis regio visendaque fertur.”

  6. Sueton. (Donatus), Vita Virg. 13 “quamquam secessu Campaniae Siciliaeque plurimum uteretur.”
  7. Trist. iv. 10. 69-70.
  8. The essentially modern character of the work appears in his making a heroine of the time of the Trojan war speak of visiting "learned" Athens (Heroid. ii. 83).
  9. "Animos ad publica carmina flexi" (Trist. V. I. 23).
  10. Trist. ii. 207
  11. Trist. iii. 6. 11.
  12. Ann. iii. 24.
  13. Tac. Hist. i. 3 "comitatae profugos liberos matres, secutae maritos in exilia coniuges
  14. Trist. iii. II, iv. 9, v. 8.
  15. Trist. iii. 7. Perilla has by many been erroneously supposed to have been the poet's own daughter; but this is impossible, since she is described as young and still living under her mother's roof, whereas at the time of Ovid's exile his daughter was already married to her second husband.
  16. There are found in him some exceptionally fine expressions, such as Her. iii. 106 "qui bene pro patria cum patriaque iacent"; and Met. vii 20 "video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor."
  17. Am. i. 15, 19 ff.
  18. Am. iii. 9. 61.
  19. Ex Ponto, iv. 16
  20. Ars amatoria, iii. 121 ff.
  21. The influence of Ovid on Shakespeare is shown conclusively by T. S. Baynes, Shakespeare Studies (1894), p. 195 ff.