Publius Ovidius Naso (43 b.c.-a.d. 17), known in English as Ovid, was the third of the Augustan elegiac poets whose works survive. When he started to write, Rome was enjoying the stability and prosperity brought by Augustus, and his earlier poetry reflects the satisfaction he felt with the life and society of his day. In his later years, he had the misfortune to incur the displeasure of the emperor and was sentenced to exile in a.d. 8. The full reasons for this are not known, but it is certain that one of his principal works, the Ars amatoria (The Art of Love), from which the following selection is taken, had transgressed the official policies on public morality.
Simplicitas rudis ante fu.it: nunc aurea Roma est, et domiti magnas possidet orbis opes, aspice, quae nunc sunt, Capitolia, quaeque fuerunt: 115
alterius dices ilia fiiisse Iovis. Curia, consilio quae nunc dignissima tanto, de stipula Tatio regna tenente fu.it.
text P. Ovidii Nasonis Amores, Medicamina faciei femineae, Ars amatoria, Remedia amoris, ed. E.J. Kenny (Oxford Classical Texts, 1961) meter elegiac couplet [§m 2]
simplici|tas || rudis | ante fu|lt || nunc | aurea | Rom(a) est et domi|ti mag|nas || possidet | orbis o|pes
H3f. Simplicitas simplicitatis f.plainness, simplicity; rudis primitive, unrefined; ante adv. previously; take aurea (golden) as a predicative adjective [§G57]; domiti (domo -are) ... orbis of the conquered world (orbis orbis m.); opes here wealth. 115f. aspice sg. pres. imp. act. aspicid -ere observe; the Capitoline Hill (Capito-lium -(i)i n.) with the temple of Iuppiter optimus maximus was the most sacred place in Rome—the plural is used here with reference to its two ridges (cf. note to Ovid Tristia 1.3.29, page 134, and the map of Rome on page xxiv), trans, the Capitol with its twin peaks; alterius ... Iovis of another Jupiter (Iuppiter Iovis m., the principal Roman divinity)—a god was regarded as owning his own temple as well as dwelling in it); dices introduces an acc.+inf. construction [§gio]; ilia i.e., the Capitolia of early Rome, trans, the latter.
117 Curia -ae f. the Senate-house, situated on the northern edge of the Forum Rd-manum; consilio ... tanto abl. with dignissima (superl. of dignus, which takes the ablative [§g 50]) most worthy of so great a council; in the adjectival clause (supply est), quae is postponed [§G4].
118 de stipula (stipula -ae f.) from straw, i.e., made of straw—Ovid is probably only thinking of the roof; Tatio ... tenente abl. absolute [§G4g]—Tatius was co-regent of Rome with Romulus; regna pi. for sg. [§G53].
1 i9f. The antecedent (Palatia) of the adjectival clause (quae ... fulgent) has been placed inside the clause itself; it refers to the temple of Apollo that Augustus had quae nunc sub Phoebo ducibusque Palatia fulgent, quid nisi araturis pascua bubus erant? prisca iuvent alios: ego me nunc denique natum gratulor; haec aetas moribus apta meis, non quia nunc terrae lentum subducitur aurum, lectaque diverso litore concha venit: nec quia decrescunt effbsso marmore montes, nec quia caeruleae mole fugantur aquae: sed quia cultus adest, nec nostros mansit in annos rusticitas, priscis ilia superstes avis.
built and to Augustus' own residence (sub Phoebö ducibusque, lit., under Phoebus (= Apollo) and [our] leaders); Palätia pi. for sg. [§g 53]—the Palatine (Palätium -(i)i n.) was a hill south of the Forum Römänum; fulgeö -ere shine—Augustus used white marble for his buildings; trans, the Palatine, which now shines with [the temple of] Phoebus and [the house of our] leaders; quid ... erant what was it (erant is plural because of Palätia); nisi here except; arätüris (fut, pple. of arö aräre plow)... bübus (irreg. dat. pi. of bös bovis m./f.) dat. of advantage [§g 31], lit., for oxen [who were] going to plow, i.e., for oxen before plowing; pascuum -i n. pasture. 12if. prisca (nom. pi.) iuvent (jussive subj. [§g69]) alios let ancient [things] please others; me ... nätum [esse] that I was born, acc.+inf. [§gio] after gratulor (-ärl rejoice); denique (adv. at last) adds emphasis to nunc and need not be translated; möribüs ... mels dat. with apta [§g28] suited to my character. i23f. Lines 123-128, a succession of adverbial clauses of reason [§g 86] introduced by quia (because), give Ovid's reasons for preferring his own age. Augustan poets often commented on the demand among the wealthy for elaborate dwellings and for luxury items such as gold and pearls, which reflected the prosperity Rome was enjoying; terrae dat. after subdücitur (subdücö -ere + acc./dat. remove [something] from [something]); lentus (malleable) refers to the ease with which gold can be worked; lecta ... concha (-ae f.) a choice pearl—pearls were brought to Rome from the East; diverso litore abl. of place from which [§G39]/rom a distant shore.
125 decrescö -ere grow smaller; effossö (perf. pple. of effodiö -ere dig up, quarry) marmore (marmor marmoris n. marble) abl. of cause [§g48], trans, because of the marble [that has been] quarried.
126 caeruleus blue; möles mölis f. pile (for the foundations of a building); fugö -are put to flight—wealthy Romans were fond of building over water, whether in the sea or in a lake, and this necessitated driving piles to support the building; Ovid exaggerates the slight displacement of water involved.
127f. cultus (-üs m. refinement) adest (adsum be present) trans, there is now refinement; rusticitäs rusticitätis f. coarseness; priscis (ancient) avis (avus -i m. here ancestor, forebear) dat. after superstes (superstitis adj. surviving) [§g28]; ilia lit., that one; trans, nor has that coarseness that survived our ancient forebears persisted (lit., stayed) up to our times—the rusticitas that existed under Tatius continued after him but had disappeared by Ovid's time.
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