Ovid Publius Ovidius Naso

b.c.e.-ca. 17 c.e.) Ovid was born in Sulmo, Italy. With Virgil, he is considered one of the foremost Latin authors. Not much is known about his personal life. As a young man, ovid traveled to Rome to study law, becoming a pupil of Porcius Latro and Arelius Fuscus, both master rhetoricians. He then embarked on an administrative career, working at the mint and in the prison system before becoming a judge. He was married three times.

ovid wrote Amores (a collection of love poetry), Heroides (letters from/about female heroes), Remedia Amoris (The Cure for Love), Ars Amatoria (Art of Love), Medicamina Facici Feminae (a treatise about cosmetics), Metamorphoses (a collection of mythological legends), Fasti (a book on the months), and a number of other works, now lost. In 8 C.E., Ovid was exiled to Tomi on the Black Sea, where he remained until his death. No specific reason for his exile has been found. Scholars speculate that the emperor Augustus, who had recently undertaken a campaign to clean up Rome's debauchery, was offended by Ovid's Art of Love. The volume, which contains frank descriptions of love and actions inspired by love, likely made the conservative government uncomfortable.

ovid is known for his preservation and elevation of Roman mythology, as well as for his love poetry. His verse forms vary, but he favored the elegiac couplet (alternating lines of dactylic hexameter and dactylic pentameter).

ovid's influence on medieval and Renaissance poetry was substantial. For instance, Geoffrey Chaucer relied on Ovid's Metamorphoses for both The Legend of Good Women and The Book of the Duchess, both for inspiration and for source materials. Likewise, John Gower drew on Ovid's works, especially his letters and Art of Love, for the Confesio Amantis. The Art of Love served as inspiration for the later work The Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capellanus.

During the Tudor era, English translations of Ovid's works only served to increase his visibility as inspira tion for poets. Arthur Golding is credited with the first English translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, in 1567. Similarly, Christopher Marlowe translated the Amores before his death in 1593, though the work was published posthumously in 1599 and subsequently banned as "offensive." Ovid's works were particularly fertile ground for the sonneteers. Numerous sonnet sequences, including Sir Philip Sidney's Astrophil and Stella and William Shakespeare's, owe a debt to his works. Isabella Whitney's works, especially her "Admonition by the Author," directly reference Ovid's works. These are but a few examples—ovid's influence continued to be felt strongly in British poetry throughout the early modern period and well into the modern era.

See also classical tradition, translation tradition.

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