Among the Ancients: Ovid

Emily Wilson and Thomas Jones

Ovid was perhaps the most prolific poet of Ancient Rome, certainly in the amount of his poetry which has survived (around 30,000 lines). This episode focuses on his 15-book epic, the Metamorphoses, a patchwork of hundreds of stories of transformation, including numerous retellings of famous myths from Apollo and Daphne to the Trojan War.

In this episode from Among the Ancients, Emily and Tom consider the poem’s depictions of trauma, redemption and the transformation of gender roles, and the formal practices which shape the poetry, such as declamatio and suasoria. They also ask how Ovid’s writing in the time of Emperor Augustus affected his work, and the circumstances around his later exile from Rome.

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