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The Art of Love and Other Poems

af Ovid

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Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso, 43 BCE-17 CE), born at Sulmo, studied rhetoric and law at Rome. Later he did considerable public service there, and otherwise devoted himself to poetry and to society. Famous at first, he offended the emperor Augustus by his Ars Amatoria, and was banished because of this work and some other reason unknown to us, and dwelt in the cold and primitive town of Tomis on the Black Sea. He continued writing poetry, a kindly man, leading a temperate life. He died in exile. Ovid's main surviving works are the Metamorphoses, a source of inspiration to artists and poets including Chaucer and Shakespeare; the Fasti, a poetic treatment of the Roman year of which Ovid finished only half; the Amores, love poems; the Ars Amatoria, not moral but clever and in parts beautiful; Heroides, fictitious love letters by legendary women to absent husbands; and the dismal works written in exile: the Tristia, appeals to persons including his wife and also the emperor; and similar Epistulae ex Ponto. Poetry came naturally to Ovid, who at his best is lively, graphic and lucid. The Loeb Classical Library edition of Ovid is in six volumes.… (mere)

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The art of love encompasses three books by Ovid. Using an elegiac verse style he expounds the varieties of amorous and erotic adventure in graceful language. Originally written for the sophisticated society of Augustan Rome, his poetry has continued to entertain and entrance readers ever since.

The first two books contain advice for the predatory male, but the third Ovid devotes to the opposite sex, to avoid, as he affects to say, any charge of partiality. The whole is in the mode of the erotic Alexandrian elegy, but leavened with Ovid's wit. The tradition appears to be rooted in Asia Minor due to the nature of the diction. While the elegy was originally primarily made of laments there were erotic elegies before Ovid. Among the Greeks Mimnermus and Theognis were considered great elegiasts.

The book is filled with stories and advice, here is a sample:

“You ask perhaps if one should take the maid herself? Such a plan brings the greatest risk with it. In one case, fresh from bed, she’ll get busy, in another be tardy, in one case you’re a prize for her mistress, in the other herself. There’s chance in it: even if it favors the idea, my advice nevertheless is to abstain. I don’t pick my way over sharp peaks and precipices, no youth will be caught out being lead by me. Still, while she’s giving and taking messages, if her body pleases you as much as her zeal, make the lady your first priority, her companion the next: Love should never be begun with a servant.”

Ovid gives a sympathetic insight into a society that was becoming consumed with a moral laxity. By contrast Horace provided a more moralistic tone of censure in his Satires. The work has enjoyed a continuing popularity ; Ovid's knowledge of human, particularly of feminine, nature, the brilliant picture of the social life of Rome, the studied artlessness of the comparisons he draws from animals and from pursuits such as hunting, farming, or sailing, the narratives that he cannot resist interweaving with his teaching---all these elements, together with a considerable degree of humor and irresistible wit, have combined to give the work a unique attractiveness. However the result of Ovid's sympathetic eroticism was the arousal of the disfavor of Augustus; Ovid was exiled for life to the coast of the Black Sea, and felt that his poetry was at least partially responsible for his misfortune. We are fortunate that the text has endured.

"But avoid men who profess elegance and good looks, and who arrange their hair in its proper place. What they tell you they have told a thousand women; their fancy wanders, and has no fixed abode." - The Art of Love, Book III, 433-36. ( )
  jwhenderson | Jul 16, 2018 |
Edition: // Descr: xiv, 382 p. 17 cm. // Series: The Loeb Classical Library Call No. { 871 Ov4-L 1 } Series Edited by T.E. Page With an English Translation by J.H. Mozley Contains Latin and English Versions, Appendix, and Indexes of Names and Subjects. // //
  ColgateClassics | Oct 26, 2012 |
Very amusing, especially the "Facial Advice for Women" ( )
  wrappedupinbooks | Sep 26, 2006 |
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Ovidprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Goold, G. P.Redaktørmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Mozley, J. H.Oversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Mozley, J. H.Oversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet

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Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso, 43 BCE-17 CE), born at Sulmo, studied rhetoric and law at Rome. Later he did considerable public service there, and otherwise devoted himself to poetry and to society. Famous at first, he offended the emperor Augustus by his Ars Amatoria, and was banished because of this work and some other reason unknown to us, and dwelt in the cold and primitive town of Tomis on the Black Sea. He continued writing poetry, a kindly man, leading a temperate life. He died in exile. Ovid's main surviving works are the Metamorphoses, a source of inspiration to artists and poets including Chaucer and Shakespeare; the Fasti, a poetic treatment of the Roman year of which Ovid finished only half; the Amores, love poems; the Ars Amatoria, not moral but clever and in parts beautiful; Heroides, fictitious love letters by legendary women to absent husbands; and the dismal works written in exile: the Tristia, appeals to persons including his wife and also the emperor; and similar Epistulae ex Ponto. Poetry came naturally to Ovid, who at his best is lively, graphic and lucid. The Loeb Classical Library edition of Ovid is in six volumes.

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