Historical Reprints Mysteries Love Books of Ovid

Love Books of Ovid

Love Books of Ovid
Catalog # SKU1855
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Publius Ovidius Naso


The Love Books
of Ovid

Being The Amores,
Ars Amatoria,Remedia Amoris
And Medicamina Faciei Femineae
of Publius Ovidius Naso

Publius Ovidius Naso

Freedom of thought, and freedom of press was a landmark of the Roman Republic era... Many advances in the sciences and arts were accomplished due to this freedom. Unlike today's religious nonsense, Ovid's love stories were produced when the prevailing religion of the times supported such freedom of expression. Hail our god - Caesar?

PUBLIUS OVIDIUS NASO was born at Sulmo--the modern Sulmona--on March the 20th, 43 B.C. He was fortunate in his birthplace, and it may not perhaps be over fanciful to ascribe the airy charm, the delicate grace, which his Muse so plentifully displays, at least as much to his early environment as to heredity. Sulmo, indeed, lies amid a region of great natural beauty. Its pastures, as Ovid himself tells us, were cool and rich, it produced abundant crops of corn, and yet so light and fine was the soil that the vine and the olive flourished there in profusion. It was a land of streams, of streams that hurried down from the mountains so clear and cold that the place is called by the poets "gelidus Sulmo." Even in the hottest of Italian summers, when the canicular is at its height, its meadows are fresh and green and its atmosphere sparkling and salubrious.

Excerpt from the Introduction

The society into which Ovid was received after his refusal of the quæstorship, and in which he gained that intimate knowledge of women which make his love poems such masterpieces of feminine psychology, was one of the most brilliant that the world has ever known.

Out of the welter of conflicting forces and rival ambitions which had so long distracted the Roman State, the crafty and patient Augustus had emerged triumphant. The era of bloodshed, of political strife and social insecurity was over. The shadow of civil conflict which had so long oppressed men's minds had at length departed, and, even if the last vestiges of political freedom had vanished with it, the loss was forgotten, at least temporarily, in the joyfulness with which the dawning of what promised, and indeed proved, to be a long era of peace and settled government was universally acclaimed.

The age in which Ovid flourished was singularly favourable to the cultivation of the arts. It was a luxurious, pleasure-loving age if you will, but at the same time it was an age of extraordinary elegance and refinement, and Ovid was one of the choicest and most typical of its products.

He flung himself with zest into this brilliant and witty society, a society which he was destined to immortalize in his verse, and its members, recognizing in him a rare and congenial spirit, welcomed him with open arms. He was, in fact, an immediate and an immense success. Being a man of breeding and education, as well as the possessor of brilliant natural gifts, no door, however exclusive, was closed against him. He was a delightful companion, a brilliant talker, a tremendous favourite with the women, as well as a most observant and penetrating student of their psychology. "The Loves," the first of the three poems included in this volume, was also the first work published by Ovid. Originally, as the poet himself tells us, it consisted of five books, subsequently compressed into three, and the "elegies" of which it is made up are for the most part written to or concerned with his mistress. Who the Corinna was whom he celebrates in his "Loves" is, as we have stated, unknown.

She was clearly a woman of some social standing. In an early elegy he commends himself to her favour by the merits of his poetry the purity of his morals, and by the vow he makes to her of his unchangeable fidelity. "I am none of these," he avers, "who love a hundred women at a time; I am no fickle philanderer. Whatsoever the tale of years the fates may spin for me, I will pass them at thy side, and dying be lamented by thee." At length, after a long siege, she surrenders, and Ovid is in the seventh heaven. Alas for the frailty of lovers' vows! We turn but a page or two, and we find him cursing himself for laying violent hands upon her in a fit of rage. But amantium iræ! It's soon made up; they are fast friends again, and in a poem of singular beauty he upbraids the Dawn for hastening her coming, and so tearing him from her side.

Women in Ovid's time were no less slaves to fashion than they are in ours. In these days of bobbing and shingling and permanent waving and henna dyeing, what a note of actuality rings in the reproaches he addresses to Corinna for dyeing and crimping her hair till she has nearly lost it all, and is compelled to conceal her baldness with a toupet made from the tresses of a German slave-girl! How many a lover in these days has had to deplore that his Corinna, or his Neobule, or his Cynara has wilfully deprived herself of the aureole with which the gods had endowed her.



AS my wife was born at fruitful Falisci, we went to visit those walls which long ago were conquered, Camillus, by thee. The priestesses were making ready to celebrate the festival of the chaste Juno by holding solemn games and by the sacrifice of a heifer native to the place. It was a strong motive for lingering there awhile, to witness the rite, though full steep is the path that leads to the scene of its performance.

It is an immemorial grove, and so dense is the foliage there that the daylight cannot penetrate the gloom. One needs but to behold it, to realise that it is the abode of a divinity. An altar receives the prayers and incense offered by the faithful, a rough-hewn altar made by the artless folk of olden days. From this spot, once a year, as soon as the trumpet has given forth its solemn note, the procession sets out and makes its way along the carpeted paths.

Snow-white heifers are led along amid the plaudits of the throng, heifers nourished by the grass of their native fields, and calves whose brows are not yet armed with threatening horns, and the humble pig, a lowlier victim, and the leader of the herd with horns curved back over his stubborn head. The goat alone is hateful to the lady goddess, ever since the day when by a goat her presence was betrayed in a deep wood and she was forced to abandon her flight. And so, even now, the boys pursue her with their darts and she is given as a prize to the one that brings her low.

All along the way the goddess is to pass, boys and shy maidens strew the paths with carpets. Gold and gems sparkle in their virgin hair and the proud mantle hides their gold-decked feet. In the Grecian manner of their ancestors they pass on, Clad in white, and on their head they bear the sacred vessels entrusted to their care. Peep silence holds the people while the stately procession is passing by, and after her priestesses, follows the goddess herself.

The whole procession tells of Greece. After the murder of Agamemnon, Halesus fled the scene of his crime and the rich lands of his forefathers. It was only after many adventures, both by land and sea, that with auspicious hands he reared a high-walled city. 'Twas he that taught the Falisci to celebrate the rites of Juno. May they to me, and to her own people, ever be propitious.

Softcover, 8¼" x 6¾, 210+ pages

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