Ovid in Roman Biography

Ov'id, [Lat. Ovid'iiis; It. Ovidio, o-vee'de-o ; Fr. Ovidk, o'ved',] or, more fully, Pub'lius Ovid'ius Na'so, a popular Roman poet, was born at Sulmo, (Sulmona,) about ninety miles east of Rome, in 43 B.C. He studied rhetoric in Rome under Arellius Fuscus and l'orcius Latro, and made himself master of Greek at Athens. His poetical genius was manifested in early youth, and afterwards diverted him from the practice of law, which, in compliance with his father's will, he began to study. He held, however, several civil or judicial offices at Rome, and became one of the Decemviri. He sought and obtained the acquaintance of Propertius, Horace, Macer, and other poets. He also enjoyed for a time the favour of the emperor Augustus. Among his earliest productions were three books of "Amores." Before the age of fifty he had published "The Art of Love," (" Ars Amatoria,") " Medea," a tragedy, and " Heroic Epistles," (" Ileroides.") He had also nearly finished his celebrated "Metamorphoses," ("Metamorphoseon Libri XV.,") wiiich display great poetical genius. In the year 8 A.D. he was suddenly banished by Augustus to Tomi, on the Euxine, near the mouth of the Danube. The reason assigned for this penal measure was the publication of his immodest poem "The Art of Love ;" but this is believed to have lieen a mere pretext, as that poem was published about ten years earlier. Ovid in his later writings alludes to some offence which he mysteriously conceals, and for which he admitted that he deserved to suffer. This question appears to have baffled the ingenuity and curiosity of scholars. He has been censured for the abject terms in which he petitioned Augustus for a pardon, which was inexorably refused. He died at Tomi in 18 A.D., which was also the year of Livy's death. His " Medea," which some ancient critics esteemed his most perfect work, is lost. During his exile lie wrote, besides other minor poems, "Twelve Books of Fasti," ("Fastorum Libri XII.,") six of which have come down to us. This is a poetical Roman calendar, and has historical value as well as literary merit. Ovid was thrice married, and divorced his first wife and his second. He also loved and courted a woman of high rank, whom he celebrated under the fictitious name of Corinna. Some writers suppose she was Julia the daughter, or Julia the granddaughter, of the emperor Augustus. The best English translation of Ovid is " Ovid's Metamorphoses, in Fifteen Books, translated by the Most Kminent Hands," London, 1717. Among these translators were Dryden, Addison, Congreve, and Garth. See Masson, "Vita P. Ovidii Nasonis," 1708; C. Rosmini, "Vitadi Publio Ovidio Naso," 1789; Vk.lknavk, "Vie d'Ovide," Paris, 1809; Bavle, " Historical and Critical Dictionary.**

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