Ovid: Poems From Exile - Index D-J


The mythical Athenian architect who built the Labyrinth for King Minos of Crete, laid out the ‘dancing floor’ of Cnossos, and created the artifical wooden cow with which Pasiphae wooed the Bull from the Sea. (See Michael Ayrton’s extended series of sculptures, bronzes, and artefacts celebrating Daedalus, Icarus and the Minotaur). He made wings of bee’s-wax and feathers to escape from Crete. Warning Icarus, his son, to follow him in a middle course, they flew towards Ionia. Between Samos and Lebinthos Icarus flew too high, the wax melted, and he drowned in the Icarian Sea and was buried on the island of Icaria. He had previously caused the death of Talos, his nephew, the son of his sister Perdix, through jealousy throwing him from the Athenian citadel, but Pallas Athene changed the boy into the partridge, perdix perdix. He found sanctuary in Sicily (after reaching Cumae, where he built the temple of Apollo), at the court of King Cocalus who defended him from Minos. (He threaded the spiral shell for King Cocalus, a test devised by Minos, and made the golden honeycomb for the goddess at Eryx. See Vincent Cronin’s book on Sicily – The Golden Honeycomb.). His name was synonymous with ingenuity, invention and technical skill. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses Book VIII.

Book TIII.IV:1-46 Book TIII.VIII:1-42 Made the wings of wax and feathers.


A Roman province bordering the eastern shore of the Adriatic.

Book EII.II:75-126 Separated out from Roman Illyricum after the Pannonian War.


Ibis:541-596 Possibly Damasicthon son of Kodros, the Ionian.


The mother of Perseus by Jupiter, and daughter of Acrisius, King of Argos. She was raped by Jupiter in the form of a shower of gold, while imprisoned in a brazen tower by Acrisius, who had been warned by an oracle that he would have no sons but that his grandson would kill him. (See Titian’s painting, Museo del Prado, Madrid: See the pedestal of Benvenuto Cellini’s Perseus bronze, Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence, depicting Danaë with the child Perseus: See Jan Gossaert called Mabuse’s panel – Danaë –  in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich)

Book TII:361-420 Raped by Jupiter.

Danaides, Belides

The fifty daughters of Danaüs, granddaughters of Belus, king of Egypt.

They were forced to marry their cousins, the fifty sons of Aegyptus, and, with one exception, Hypermnestra, who saved the life of Lynceus because he preserved her virginity, killed them on their wedding night. The others were punished in Hades by having to fill a bottomless cistern with water carried in leaking sieves.

Book TIII.I:47-82 The figures of Danaus and his daughters in the temple of Apollo built by Augustus on the Palatine, in which he also established a library.

Book EIII.1:105-166 Murderesses.

Ibis:163-208 Ibis:311-364 Their crime and punishment.

Danaus, Danaan

A term originally applied to the people of Argos but later a general term meaning Greek. BookEIV.VII:41 etc.

Danuvius, Danube, Hister

The great river of south-eastern Europe, running from Germany to its mouth on the west coast of the Black Sea some seventy miles north of Tomis. Ovid generally prefers the name Hister rather than Danuvius.

Book TII:155-206 Tomis (Constantza) is south of the Danube estuary.


A town, and region, on the Asian shore of the Hellespont. The Trojans are often referred to as Dardanians.

Book TI.X:1-50 Founded by Dardanus, Zeus’s son by the Pleiad Electra, a native of Arcadian Pheneus. He married Chryse the daughter of Pallas.

Book TIII.V:1-56 Priam, King of Troy is a Dardanian.

Dareus, Darius

Darius III, King of Persia (d 330 BC). He was defeated by Alexander the Great at Issus. Alexander subsequently gave Darius rites of burial after he had been murdered by his own kin.

Book TIII.V:1-56 Alexander showed magnanimity in victory.

Ibis:311-364 Ovid may intend Darius III (not the second, who was not historically significant) Codomannus, defeated by Alexander at the Issus in 333BC and Gaugamela in 331BC, and subsequently murdered by the satrap Bessus. The incident referred to is unclear.


The daughter of Oeneus, king of Calydon, hence called Calydonis, and the sister of Meleager. She was wooed by Hercules and Acheloüs. She married Hercules, and was raped by Nessus, the Centaur. Trying to revive Hercules love for her she unwittingly gave him the shirt of Nessus soaked in the poison of the Hydra. (See Pollaiuolo’s painting – The Rape of Deianira – Yale University Art Gallery) Hyllus was her son by Hercules. (See Sophocles Trachiniae)

Book TII:361-420 Wife of Hercules, and in love with him.


The daughter of Lycomedes, King of the Dolopians, on Scyros. She was the mother of Neoptolemus (Pyrrhus) by Achilles, after Achilles was hidden on the island to avoid his being drafted for Troy.

Book TII:361-420 Loved by Achilles.

Delos, Delia tellus

The Greek island in the Aegean, one of the Cyclades, birthplace of, and sacred to, Apollo (Phoebus) and Diana (Phoebe, Artemis), hence the adjective Delian. Its ancient name was Ortygia. A wandering island it gave sanctuary to Latona (Leto). Having been hounded by jealous Juno (Hera), she gave birth there to the twins Apollo and Diana, between an olive tree and a date-palm on the north side of Mount Cynthus. (Pausanias VIII xlvii, mentions the sacred palm-tree, noted there in Homer’s Odyssey 6, 162, and the ancient olive.) Delos then became fixed in the sea. In a variant she gave birth to Artemis-Diana on the islet of Ortygia nearby.

Book EIV.XIV:1-62 Kind to Latona.

Ibis:465-540 Diana’s island. Possibly Ovid is referring obscurely to the Delian league and its sacking of the island of Thasos, which because of its gold mines was a source of riches.


The site of the oracle of Apollo in Phocis, on the lower slopes of Parnassus overlooking the Pleistos valley. Phoebus Apollo is therefore called Delphicus. The navel stone in the precinct at Delphi was taken as the central point of the known world. It continued as a shrine, diminishing in importance, until closed by Theodosius in 390AD.

Book TIV.VIII:1-52 The oracle.


Ibis:251-310 The blind Greek bard who entertains the guests in Alcinous’ palace in Phaeacia in Homer’s Odyssey VIII.


Ibis:365-412 King of Olenus. Hercules rescued his daughter Mnesimache from the Centaur Eurytion, the king’s son-in-law.


Ibis:465-540 The Telchines, mythical craftsmen and wizards living on Ceos, angered the gods by blighting the fruits of the earth. Zeus and Poseidon (or Apollo) destroyed the island and its population, but spared Dexithea and her sisters, daughters of Damon (or Demonax), the chief of theTelkhines, because Macelo, Dexithea’s sister, had entertained the two gods. Macelo’s husband offended the gods, and they were both destroyed.

Diana, Artemis

Daughter of Jupiter and Latona (hence her epithet Latonia) and twin sister of Apollo. She was born on the island of Ortygia which is Delos (hence her epithet Ortygia). Goddess of the moon and the hunt. She carries a bow, quiver and arrows. She and her followers are virgins. She is worshipped as the triple goddess, as Hecate in the underworld, Luna the moon, in the heavens, and Diana the huntress on earth. (Skelton’s ‘Diana in the leaves green, Luna who so bright doth sheen, Persephone in hell’) Callisto is one of her followers.    (See Luca Penni’s – Diana Huntress – Louvre, Paris, and Jean Goujon’s sculpture (attributed) – Diana of Anet – Louvre, Paris.) She was worshipped at the sacred grove and lake of Nemi in Aricia, as Diana Nemorensis, and the rites practised there are the starting point for Frazer’s ‘The Golden Bough’ (see Chapter I et seq.) She hid Hippolytus, and set him down at Aricia (Nemi), as her consort Virbius. The Romans identified the original Sabine goddess Diana with the Greek Artemis and established her cult on the Aventine. Strabo mentions the connection of the cult of Aricia with the Tauric Chersonese (5.3.12, C.239)

Book TII:77-120 Ibis:465-540 Actaeon saw her naked, bathing in a pool, and was changed to a stag, and torn to pieces by the hounds for unwittingly being present.

Book TIV.IV:43-88 Book EI.II:53-100 Book EIII.II:1-110 Ibis:365-412 The Diana of the Tauric Chersonese was worshipped with human sacrifice. Strabo (7.4.2) locates her temple at Heracleia Pontica near modern Sevastapol, and Herodotus (4.103) describes the sacrifice.

Book EI.I:37-80 Possibly the Diana of Ephesus is meant. Ovid implies no alms collecting was allowed the priestesses and prophets

of the goddess.

Book EII.III:1-48 This suggests a reference to the ritual prostitution of the followers of Diana at Ephesus and elsewhere.

Ibis:465-540 Delos was her island.

Ibis:541-596 Her pack of hounds. Cerberus was an incarnation of Hecate, a mask of Diana.


The Greek philosopher of Sinope (412-322 BC) who founded the philosophical sect of Cynics. Influenced by Antisthenes he calimed total freedom and self-sufficiency for the individual, and had a disregard for social conventions.

Book EI.III:49-94 Exiled to Attica.

Diomedes (1)

The son of Tydeus King of Argos, and a Greek hero in the Trojan War. He aided Ulysses against Rhesus and Palamades, and with him brought Philoctetes and his bow (that of Hercules) from Lemnos.

Book EII.II:1-38 He wounded Venus and Mars in the Trojan War.

Diomedes (2)

The Thracian King of the Bistones who fed his horses on human flesh. Their capture formed Hercules’s eighth labour.

Book EI.II:101-150 Ibis:365-412 An example of cruelty.


Dionysius II, the Younger, the tyrant of Syracuse (in 367-356, and 347-344 BC) who was a patron of writers and philosophers and was taught briefly by Plato. He opened a school at Corinth after his expulsion.

Book EIV.III:1-58 Ejected from the fortress of Ortygia by Timoleon, and ended as a schoolteacher in Corinth.


A town on the Moesian coast of the Pontus, south of Tomis. Earlier known as Krounoi, ‘the springs’. Now Balchik (40 kilometres north of Varna).

Book TI.X:1-50 On the Minerva’s course.

Dionysus, see Bacchus


Ibis:465-540 The wife of Lycus, King of Thebes, who mistreated her niece Antiope. Antiope was rescued by her sons Amphion and Zethus who tied Dirce to the horns of a wild bull and set it loose.


The town in Epirus in north western Greece, site of the Oracle of Jupiter-Zeus, whose responses were delivered by the rustling of the oak trees in the sacred grove. (After 1200BC the goddess Naia, worshipped there, who continued to be honoured as Dione, was joined by Zeus Naios. The sanctuary was destroyed in 391AD.)

Book TIV.VIII:1-52  The oracle.


The Trojan son of Eumedes. He acted as a spy in the Greek camp and asked for the horses of Achilles as his reward. He was killed by Ulysses and Diomedes during their raid behind the enemy lines. See Iliad Book X.

Book TIII.IV:1-46 Ibis:597-644 His desire for Achilles’s horses.


A Celtic chieftain, the ancestor of Vestalis, a Celt who took service with the Romans.

Book EIV.VII:1-54 The grandfather of Vestalis.

Drusus (1)

Surnamed Germanicus, the younger son of Livia Augusta by her first husband (Tiberius Claudius Nero). The father of Germanicus.

Book TIV.II:1-74 He was rewarded by the Senate with the title Germanicus for his German campaigns from 12BC to AD9. Ovid’s ‘fine son worthy of his father’, may be a dig at Augustus, since Livia was forced to divorce her husband and marry Augustus when six months pregnant with Drusus.

Book EII.VIII:37-76 Killed by illness or a fall from his horse, in Germany, in AD9.

Drusus (2)

Born 13BC. The son of Tiberius and Vipsania (daughter of Agrippa), and the cousin and brother of Germanicus through Germanicus’s adoption by Tiberius. He married the Elder Livilla.

Book TII:155-206 Ovid offers a prayer for his safety.

Book TIV.II:1-74 Fighting alongside Tiberius in Germany in AD10.

Book EII.II:39-74 Praised with Germanicus.

Book EIV.IX:89-134 As Livia’s grandson worshipped by Ovid as divine.


Ibis:311-364 The son of Mars, and brother of the Thracian Tereus. If this is the Dryas referred to, the incident of his son is obscure.


Ibis:465-540 The father of Theiodamas, who ruled the area below Mount Parnassus, and who was easily defeated by Hercules. The Dryopians were taken to the shrine of Apollo and made slaves.


An unidentified island, like Same, near Ithaca, and belonging to Ulysses. Ulysses (Odysseus) and his comrades are called ‘Dulichian’.

Book TI.V:45-84 Ibis:365-412 Often synonymous with Ithaca.

Book TIV.I:1-48 The Dulichians, Odysseus’s men, were drugged by the food of the Lotus-Eaters, see Homer’s Odyssey IX:82


Book EIV.X:35-84 A river running into the Black Sea.


Theban, from Echion the son-in-law of Cadmus founder of Thebes.

Book TV.V:27-64 Thebes.


The king of Thebes, in Mysia, and father of AndromacheHector’s wife.

Book TV.V:27-64 Father of Andromache.

Elba, Ilva

Ilva the modern Elba, the island lying off the Etrurian coast in the Tyrrhenian Sea, famous for its iron ore mines.

Book EII.III:49-100 Ovid last saw Cotta there in the autumn of AD8.

Elysian Fields

Ibis:163-208 A region of the underworld for spirits in bliss, rewarding virtue in life.


The daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, sister to Chrysothemis, Iphigenia and Orestes. Devoted to Orestes, hostile to Aegisthus and her mother. See Sophocles and Euripides (Electra).

Book TII:361-420 Famous because of Clytemnestra’s adultery and the consequent events.


The region of the north-west Peloponnese famous for its horses. The Elians presided over the Games at Olympia.

Book EII.X:1-52 The Elean river Alpheus.


A comrade of Ulysses. The Odyssey describes his death when he tumbles from the roof of Circe’s house, the morning after a heavy bout of drinking. His ghost begs Ulysses for proper burial, and for the oar that he pulled with his comrades to be set up over his grave. His ashes were entombed on Mount Circeo.

Book TIII.IV:1-46 Mentioned.

Ibis:465-540 His fate.


Elysium or the Elysian Fields, identified with the Islands of the Blest, a paradise ruled by Rhadamanthys, apparently distinct from Hades.


A poetic term for Macedonian, originally applied to the Emathian Plain.

Book TIII.V:1-56 Alexander the Great of Macedonia.


One of the giants who stormed heaven, piling Mounts PelionOssa and Olympus on each other. He was overthrown by Pallas Athene (Minerva).

Book EII.II:1-38 Ovid implies he had not joined in any plotting against Augustus.


A beautiful youth from Elis or Caria who was made to sleep for eternity in a cave on Carian Mount Latmos by Zeus for attempting to seduce Hera. He was visited and kissed by the Moon (Selene/Luna/Diana/Artemis).

Book TII:253-312 Visited by the Moon.


Quintus Ennius (239-169BC) from Rudiae in Calabria, the important early Roman poet and tragedian. His chief work was the Annales an epic history of Rome including the Punic and eastern wars.

Book TII:253-312 His Annals are probably referred to here.

Book TII:421-470 A serious poet, talented but primitive.


Book TIV.IX:1-32 Book EII.V:41-76 Book EIV.VI:1-50

Book EIV.IX:89-134 The dawn, ‘eastern’.


A city in Argolis, sacred to Aesculapius. The pre-Greek god Maleas was later equated with Apollo, and he and his son Asklepios were worshipped there. There were games in honour of the god every four years, and from 395BC a drama festival. The impressive ancient theatre has been restored and plays are performed there. From the end of the 5th c. BC the cult of Asklepios spread widely through the ancient world reaching Athens in 420BC and Rome (as Aesculapius) in 293BC.

Book EI.III:1-48 Aesculapius the Epidaurian was famed for his healing arts.


The Underworld (also a god of darkness).

Ibis:209-250 Source of the Furies’ snake venom.


A son of Vulcan (Hephaestus), born without a mother (or born from the Earth after Hephaestus the victim of a deception had been repulsed by Athene). Legendary king of Athens (as Erechtheus) and a skilled charioteer. He is represented by the constellation Auriga the charioteer, containing the star Capella. (Alternatively the constellation represents the she-goat Amaltheia that suckled the infant Jupiter, and the stars ζ (zeta) and η (eta) Aurigae are her Kids. It is a constellation visible in the winter months.)

Book TII:253-312 Pallas-Athene raised him.

Book EII.IX:1-38 Ibis:251-310 Ancestor of Eumolpus and Cotys.


The daughter of Icarius.

Ibis:597-644 She hung herself on finding him dead.


Arcadian from Mount Erymanthus in Arcadia.

Book TI.IV:1-28 Book TIII.IV:1-46 An epithet for the Great Bear from Callisto the Arcadian girl transformed to that constellation.


Ibis:413-464 The son of the Thessalian king Triopas. His daughter was Mestra. After living off Mestra’s shape-changing skills he ended by consuming himself. See Metamorphoses VIII:725


The elder son of Oedipus and Iocasta, brother of Polynices who fought against him in the war of the Seven against Thebes. The two brothers killed each other. Their sister was Antigone.

Book TII:313-360 Book TV.V:27-64 Their mutual death.


An unknown writer.

Book TII:361-420 Apparently he wrote a story that involved abortion.


One of the largest of the Aegean islands close to the south-east of Greece and stretching from the Maliac Gulf and the Gulf of Pagasae in the north to the island of Andros in the south. At Chalcis it is less than a hundred yards from the mainland.

Book TI.I:70-128 Book TV.VII:1-68 Ibis:311-364 Caphereus, the site of the shipwreck of the Greek fleet.

Ibis:465-540 Lichas hurled there.


The father of Dolon.

Book TIII.IV:1-46 Mentioned.


A mythical Thracian singer, the son of Poseidon and Chione (the daughter of Boreas and Oreithiya, making Eumolpus a decendant of Erictheus, king of Athens), and a priest of Ceres-Demeter, who brought the Eleusinian mysteries to Attica. He learned the mysteries from Demeter herself or from Orpheus (see Metamorphoses Book XI:85). The priestly clan of the Eumolpidae claimed descent from him, as the Kerkidae did from his son Keryx. His son Ismarus married a daughter of Tegyrius the King of Thrace, and Eumolpus himself succeeded to the throne on their death. He taught Hercules the lyre.

Book EII.IX:1-38 Ancestor of Cotys, King of Thrace.

Book EIII.III:1-108 A pupil of Orpheus.

Ibis:251-310 His mother Chione hurled him into his father Neptune’s sea to avoid Boreas’s anger. Neptune saved him.


Ibis:465-540 A younger contemporary of Aristophanes, a comic poet and playwright. An Athenian poet of the Old Comedy, he flourished at the time of the Peloponnesian War (c. 446—411BC). Fragments of his plays survive. May be intended here.


The tragic poet c480-406BC, one of the three major writers of Attic tragedy, according to tradition born in Salamis on the day Xerxes’ fleet was destroyed.

Ibis:541-596 Eaten by dogs in the temple according to Hyginus Fabula 247.


The daughter of Agenor, king of Phoenicia, and sister of Cadmus, abducted by Jupiter disguised as a white bull. (See Paolo Veronese’s painting – The Rape of Europa – Palazzo Ducale, Venice).

Book EIV.X:35-84 She gave her name to the continent of Europe.


The East Wind. Auster is the South Wind, Zephyrus the West Wind, and Boreas is the North Wind.

Book TI.II:1-74 The warring of the winds.


The beautiful boy in Virgil’s Aeneid (IX:176) loved by Nisus, son of Hyrtacus, who avenged his death by killing Volcens, before dying himself.

Book TI.V:1-44 Book TI. IX:1-66 Book TV.IV:1-50 A paragon of friendship.

Ibis:597-644 Died with his friend after killing the sleeping Rhamnes.


Ibis:465-540 The wife of Orpheus, who died after being bitten by a snake. Orpheus went to the Underworld to ask for her life, but lost her when he broke the injunction not to look back at her. See Metamorphoses Books X:1 and XI:1. (See also Rilke’s poem, ‘Orpheus, Eurydice, Hermes’, and his ‘Sonnets to Orpheus’, and Gluck’s Opera ‘Orphée’).


Ibis:365-412 The Centaur. Hercules rescued Mnesimache the daughter of King Dexamenus of Olenus from him, and apparently killed him, though Eurytion also appears in the myth of Theseus’s fight against the Centaurs.


Ibis:251-310 Supposedly a companion of Odysseus, who expelled Cychreus, son of Neptune and Salamis, daughter of the river god Asopus, from the throne of Salamis. Cychreus had killed a serpent to gain the kingdom, and bred one to defend it, and Ovid has some variant on what is a fragmentary myth whereby he was eaten by serpents.


The Black Sea (Euxine) was called the Pontus Euxinus, the ‘Hospitable Sea’ for purposes of good omen.

Book TII:155-206 Book EIV.VI:1-50 The Danube delta was the Roman boundary on the west coast.

Book TIII.XIII:1-28 Book TIV.IV:43-88 Book TV.X:1-53 Falsely named ‘hospitable’ as far as Ovid is concerned.

Book TIV.I:49-107 Book TIV.VIII:1-52 Book TIV.X:93-132

Book TV.X:1-53 Book EII.II:1-38 The western or left-hand (sinister: unlucky) shore, Pontus on the left.

Book TV.II:45-79 Ovid describes the shoreline as deformia, shapeless, featureless, unlovely.

Book TV.IV:1-50 Book EII.VI:1-38 Book EIII.VI:1-60 Book EIV.III:1-58 Book EIV.IX:1-54 His place of exile, from which he sent letters.

Book TV.X:1-53 The sea frozen in winter.

Book EIII.II:1-110 Bordered by the Tauric Chersonese and Thrace.

Book EIII.VII:1-40 The place he is likely to die in.

Book EIV.VII:1-54 Vestalis possibly prefect there.


The daughter of Iphis and wife of Capaneus who had herself burned to death on her husband’s funeral pyre, after he was struck by Zeus’s lightning bolt in the war of the Seven Against Thebes.

Book TIV.III:49-84 She was loyal to her husband.

Book TV.V:27-64 Made famous by her husband.

Book TV.XIV:1-46 Book EIII.1:105-166 The daughter of Iphis, a paragon of loyalty and love.


Ibis:465-540 Son of Mars. He married Alcippe and had a daughter Marpessa. Suitors contended with him for her in a chariot race, the loser being killed. Idas stole her, and Evenus drowned himself in the river Lycormas which became the river Evenus.


Ovid’s third wife was a bride from the House of the Fabii but it is not certain her name was Fabia, or that she was of the family. She was a widow, or divorced, with a daughter Perilla, when Ovid married her. She was loyal to him in exile.

Book TI.II:1-74 She grieves for him, but was sensibly left behind in Rome, probably to work on his behalf for mitigation of his sentence, and to prevent her being exposed to the hardships of life in exile.

Book TI.III:1-46 His leave-taking from her.

Book TV.XI:1-30 One of the many letters to her, as she lived the life of an exile’s wife in Rome, loyally defending his estate.

Book TV.XIV:1-46 Ovid’s guarantee of immortality to her.

Book EI.II:101-150 Book EIII.1:67-104 She was a bride from the house of Paullus Fabius. The lines suggest a close relationship between Ovid and Paullus, of a literary nature. There is no concrete evidence that she was herself a member of the family. She was one of Marcia’s companions, loved by her, and also previously in a similar relationship to her mother Atia Minor, Augustus’s maternal aunt.

Book EI.VIII:1-70 His thoughts of her and her daughter.


Paullus Fabius Maximus. See Maximus.


The Etruscan city on the bank of the Tiber north-west of Rome, beyond Mount Soracte, captured by Rome in 241BC. It was famous for its orchards, pastures and cattle. Ovid’s second wife was from Falerii. Falisca herba is the ‘grass of Falerii’.

Book EIV.IV:1-50 Book EIV.VIII:1-48 Oxen from its rich meadows.


The three Fates, the Moirai, or Parcae, were goddesses born of Erebus and Night. Clothed in white, they spin, measure out, and sever the thread of each human life. Clotho (the Spinner) spins the thread. Lachesis (The Assigner of Destinies) measures it. Atropos (She Who Cannot Be Resisted) wields the shears. The Parcae were originally Roman goddesses of childbearing but were assimilated to the Fates who preside over birth marriage and death.

Book TV.X:1-53 Lachesis measured the thread of life.

Book EI.VIII:1-70 Ibis:41-104 Spinners of the thread of life.


Woodland spirits.

Ibis:41-104 Powers invoked by Ovid.


Lucius Pomponius Flaccus the brother of Ovid’s friend Graecinus. He served in Moesia c.12AD and again as governor in 18 or 19AD. He was subsequently Governor of Syria in AD32 (Tacitus Annales 6.27). He was an energetic soldier, close to Tiberius.

Book EI.X:1-44 This poem addressed to him explicitly.

Book EIV.IX:55-88 His command of the Danube shores.

Flaminia Via

The Flaminian Way, the Roman road, ran from Rome to Ariminum (Rimini) on the Adriatic Coast. Gaius Flaminius completed it in 220BC. Augustus himself paid for its repair in 27BC, and statues of him were erected on the arches of the Mulvian Bridge over the Tiber.

Book EI.VIII:1-70 Mentioned. The junction with the Via Clodia near the Milvian (Mulvian) Bridge where Ovid had a small estate.


An Augustan bucolic poet.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 A poet in Ovid’s list of his lesser contemporaries.


The Roman goddess of Fortune, Chance and Luck, identified with the Greek Tyche, and associated from early times with childbirth, fertility and women generally. Traditionally brought to Rome by Servius Tullius perhaps from Praeneste where she had an oracular shrine. Represented on a wheel or globe.

Book TI.V:1-44 Book TV.XIV:1-46 Book EII.III:49-100

Book EII.IX:1-38  Fortune as chance and fate.

Book TV.VIII:1-38 Book EIV.III:1-58 The Wheel of Fortune.

Book EII.VII:1-46 Fortune’s iniquitous arrows. Fickle by reputation but now constant in seeking his destruction.

Book EIII.1:105-166 Depicted as blind or blindfolded.


Fundanum solum, a town on the Appian Way in southern Latium.

Book EII.XI:1-28 Native town of Rufus.

Furiae, the Furies

The Furies, Erinyes, or Eumenides (ironically ‘The Kindly Ones’). The Three Sisters, were Alecto, Tisiphone and Megaera, the daughters of Night and Uranus. They were the personified pangs of cruel conscience that pursued the guilty. (See Aeschylus – The Eumenides). Their abode was in Hades by the Styx.

Book TI.V:1-44 Book TIV.IV:43-88 They pursued Orestes for the murder of his mother, Clytemnestra.

Ibis:41-104 The Furies sat at the ‘prison’ gate of the city of Dis. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses Book IV:416

Ibis:163-208 Their whips, snaky hair and smoking torches.

Ibis:209-250 Their ministrations to the newborn Ibis.


Lucius Junius Gallio a rhetorician and friend of Ovid. Also a friend of the elder Seneca, and of Messalla Corvinus. He was removed as a senator and exiled to Lesbos by Tiberius in AD32 but later summoned back to Rome.

Book EIV.XI:1-22 This letter addressed to him explicitly.


Gaius Cornelius Gallus (69-27BC), one of the most brilliant and versatile figures of his time, general, statesman and elegiac poet, friend of Virgil who dedicated his tenth eclogue to him, and initially Augustus who appointed him first Prefect of Egypt (Cassius Dio: The Roman History 51.9 and 17). However his behaviour incurred Augustus’s displeasure, he was recalled, exiled, and committed suicide to avoid prosecution for treason. He had taken up with Antony’s mistress Cytheris, and as Lycoris wrote her four books of love-elegies, of which a single line survives.

Book TII:421-470 His celebration of Lycoris in his verse.

Book TIV.X:41-92 Senior to Tibullus and Propertius.

Book TV.I:1-48 A writer of love poetry.


The sacred river of northern India.

Book TV.III:1-58 Visited by Bacchus.

Ibis:135-162 Its warm waters.


The son of Tros, brother of Ilus and Assaracus, loved by Jupiter because of his great beauty. Jupiter, in the form of an eagle, abducted him and made him his cup-bearer, against Juno’s will. Ganymede’s name was given to the largest moon of the planet Jupiter.

Book TII:361-420 Loved by Jupiter.


Germanicus (15BC-AD19) was the handsome, brilliant and popular son of the elder Drusus, grandson of Antony, and adopted (4AD) son of Tiberius, and husband of Agrippina (daughter of Agrippa, granddaughter of Augustus). He was consul in AD12 , and commander in chief of campaigns in Germany in AD14-16. In AD17 he was appointed to govern Rome’s eastern provinces and died in Antioch in mysterious circumstances, perhaps, as rumoured, through the effects of poison. He was the father of Caligula. Ovid re-dedicated the Fasti to him after Augustus’s death.

Book TII:155-206 Ovid offers a prayer for his safety.

Book TIV.II:1-74 Fighting alongside Tiberius in Germany in AD10.

Book EII.I:68 Germanicus participated in Tiberius’s Pannonian triumph in October AD12. Ovid prophesies a later triumph for him, which did in fact happen on 26th May 17AD, for victories over the German tribes. Ovid however does not appear to have written a poem about it before his own death sometime in the period lateAD16-AD18. (Last dateable reference in Ex Ponto is Graecinus’s consulship in early AD16. Ovid died in AD16 or 17 according to Saint Jerome’s Chronicle of Eusebius, at the latest AD18 based on Fasti I:223-226 and its reference to the restoration of the temple of Janus, but this may equally refer to an earlier year)

Book EII.II:39-74 Celebrated for his courage and abilities.

Book EII.V:41-76 Salanus, his tutor in oratory.

Book EII.VIII:1-36 Adopted son of Tiberius, the adopted son of Augustus, himself the adopted son of Julius Caesar. Ovid’s irony is subdued.

Germanicus translated the Phaenomena of Aratus, a guide to the constellations.

Book EIV.V:1-46 Still a possible successor to Augustus, in early 14AD, and so mentioned by Ovid as a contact of Pompey’s.

Book EIV.VIII:1-48 Book EIV.VIII:49-90 Book EIV.XIII:1-50 A possible source of help after Augustus’s death.

Book EIV.IX:89-134 As Tiberius’s adopted son worshipped by Ovid as divine.


The monster with three bodies, killed by Hercules. In the Tenth Labour, Hercules brought back Geryon’s famous herd of cattle from the island of Erythia after shooting three arrows through the three bodies. Geryon was the son of Chrysaor and Callirhoë, and King of Tartessus in Spain.

Book TIV.VII:1-26 Ovid sceptically lists the ‘unbelievable’ myths that he would have to believe in first before he could believe in this friends disloyalty.


Thracian tribe occupying both banks of the lower Danube south and east of the Carpathians, considered of superior intelligence by Herodotus (4.92). Alexander defeated them. They were also called the Daci (Dacians). Strabo ( 7.3.11-12, C.304) considers them a merging of two tribes and aggressive by nature.

Book TI.V:45-84 Book TIII.III:1-46 Book TIII. X:1-40

Book TIII. XI:39-74 Book TIV.I:49-107 Book TIV.VI:1-50

Book TIV.VIII:1-52 Book TV.III:1-58 Book TV.V:27-64

Book TV.XII:1-68 Book TV.XIII:1-34 Book EI.I:1-36

Book EI.VII:1-70 Book EI.IX:1-56 Book EII.I:68 Book EII.X:1-52

Book EIII.VII:1-40 Book EIV.IV:1-50 Book EIV.X:35-84 Ovid exiled among them.

Book TI.X:1-50 Book TV.I:1-48 A term for the shores around Tomis.

Book TII:155-206 A tribe of the Danube region.

Book TIII. IX:1-34 Colonised by the Greeks.

Book TIII. XII:1-54 Ovid describes their lands as tree-less and vine-less.

Book TIII.XIV:1-52 Book EII.VIII:37-76 A hostile people.

Book TIII.XIV:1-52 Book TV.II:45-79 The languages of the region. The rhythms of Getic are different to those of Latin. Latin is relatively unknown, and the original Greek speech of the cities is submerged in Getic pronunciation.

Book TIV.X:93-132 Book EI.VIII:1-70 Book EIV.III:1-58

Ibis:597-644 The Getic bowmen.

Book TV.I:1-48 Book EII.VII:1-46 Book EIV.VIII:49-90 Ovid labels them fierce, stern, of a barbaric nation.

Book TV.VII:1-68 Book TV.X:1-53 Book EIV.X:1-34 The Getae: dominate the Greek admixture, are barely civilised, warlike, with long beards and hair, savage and aggressive. They dress in skins and loose Persian trousers, and are ignorant of Latin.

Book TV.XII:1-68 Book EIII.II:1-110 Ovid learnt something of their language.

Book EI.II:53-100 Tomis not a significant place even to the Getae.

Book EI.II:101-150 His wish not to die at Getan hands.

Book EI.V:1-42 Book EIII.IX:1-56 A harsh place to expect the Muse to visit.

Book EI.V:43- 86 An ironic judgement on their lack of poetry.

Book EI.VIII:1-70 The Getae captured the town of Aegisos. Ovid also mentions the oxen used for ploughing.

Book EI.X:1-44 No abundance of good food among them.

Book EII.II:1-38 Book EII.VII:1-46 Book EIII.IV:57-115 Book EIV.IX:55-88 The Getae not fully conquered and pacified by Rome.

Book EII.II:39-74 He would make a worthless prize for them.

Book EIII.II:1-110 They appreciate the virtues of loyalty and friendship. The Getae are not far from the Tauric Chersonese.

Book EIII.V:1-58 Book EIV.XV:1-42 The uncouth and uncivilised Getae.

Book EIV.II:1-50 The long-haired, unshorn Getae.

Book EIV.VII:1-54 Vestalis campaigned against them.

Book EIV.XIII:1-50 Ovid wrote a poem in Getic.

Book EIV.XIV:1-62 Ovid praises the people of Tomis but not the warlike tribes.

Gigantes, Giants

Monsters, sons of Tartarus and Earth, with many arms and serpent feet, who made war on the gods by piling up the mountains, and overthrown by Jupiter. They were buried under Sicily.

Book TII:43-76 Book TII:313-360 Ovid may have intended to write a poem about the war. He appears to have started such a work and abandoned it.

Book TIV.VII:1-26 Ovid sceptically lists the ‘unbelievable’ myths that he would have to believe in first before he could believe in this friends disloyalty.

Book EIV.VIII:49-90 Known of through the poets.

Ibis:597-644 Buried beneath Sicily.


Ibis:541-596 The son of Sisyphus and Merope, and father of Bellerephon, who lived at Potniae near ThebesAphrodite punished him for feeding his mares on human flesh by causing them to eat him alive.


Ibis:541-596 The Boeotian son of Anthedon or Poseidon who tasted the herb of immortality and leapt into the sea where he became a marine god. See Metamorphoses VII:179


Ibis:541-596 Ovid indicates another Glaucus, who drowned in honey. This was Glaucus son of Minos, who drowned in a jar of honey in the cellars of Cnossos, whom Polyeidus restored to life.

Gorgo, Gorgons, see Medusa

Book EIV.VIII:49-90 Pegasus, born of Medusa.


Probably Titus Sempronius Graccus, a writer of tragedy and a descendant of the great Gracci.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 A poet in Ovid’s list of his lesser contemporaries.


Publius Pomponius Graecinus brother of Lucius Pomponius Flaccus who was a distinguished soldier and became Governor of Syria. Publius was consul suffectus in May 16 AD. A soldier interested in literature, possibly the Graecinus mentioned in Amores II.10.

Book EI.VI:1-54 This poem addressed to him explicitly.

Book EII.VI:1-38 A second poem explicitly addressed to him.

Book EIV.IX:1-54 Addressed to him and celebrating his consulship in AD16.


An Augustan poet who wrote a poem on hunting Cynegetica, and bucolics.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 A poet in Ovid’s list of his lesser contemporaries.


One of the Giants, possessing a hundred arms.

Book TIV.VII:1-26 Ovid sceptically lists the ‘unbelievable’ myths that he would have to believe in first before he could believe in this friends disloyalty.


Book TI.XI:1-44 The Adriatic.

Haedi, the Kids

The constellation Auriga represents the she-goat Amaltheia that suckled the infant Jupiter, and the stars ζ (zeta) and η (eta) Aurigae are her Kids. It is a constellation visible in the winter months, and indicative of stormy weather.

Book TI.XI:1-44 Causing winter storms during Ovid’s journey.


The son of Creon, King of Thebes and the nephew of Jocasta. Antigone’s betrothed in the Sophoclean version, he committed suicide at her death.

Book TII:361-420 A victim of passion.

Ibis:541-596 His fate.


The ancient name for Thessaly, from Haemon father of Thessalos.

Book TI.X:1-50 Cyzicos was founded by the Argonaut Aeneus from Haemonia.

Book TIII. XI:1-38 Here an epithet for the Thessalian horses of Achilles.

Book TIV.I:1-48 Achilles’ Thessalian lyre.

Book EI.III:49-94 Jason’s homeland.


A mountain in Thrace supposed to be a mortal turned into a mountain for assuming the name of a great god.

Book EIV.V:1-46 Ovid is retracing the journey to Rome.

Halcyone, Alcyone

The daughter of Aeolus, granddaughter of Polypemon, and wife of Ceyx, changed into a kingfisher or halcyon. They foolishly compared themselves to Juno and Jupiter, for which the gods drowned Ceyx in a storm. Alcyone leapt into the sea to join him, and both were transformed into kingfishers. In antiquity it was believed that the hen-kingfisher layed her eggs in a floating nest in the Halcyon Days around the winter solstice, when the sea is made calm by Aeolus, Alcyone’s father. (The kingfisher actually lays its eggs in a hole, normally in a riverbank, by freshwater and not by seawater.)

See Metamorphoses Book VII:350

Book TV.I:49-80 Her lament for Ceyx.


A large river, the longest in Asia Minor, flowing through central Asia Minor into the Pontus. The modern Kizil-Irmak flowing into the Black Sea between Sinope and Amisos.

Book EIV.X:35-84 A river running into the Black Sea.


Ibis:251-310 The great Carthaginian commander, son of Hamilcar Barca. Ovid may refer to the incident after Cannae when Hannibal sent ten Roman survivors under oath to discuss ransom terms with the Senate. One of the men sent broke his oath to return, when the Senate refused the plea, and they then sent him back forcibly to Hannibal, to be dealt with. They thereafter established a rule that Roman soldiers must conquer or die in the field. (Polybius The Roman History VI.57)


Ibis:541-596 A Mede in the service of King Astyages, who disobeyed his orders and failed to destroy the infant Cyrus. He was cruelly punished by Astyages who served him his own child at a banquet. The story is told in full in Herodotus I.107-119.

Harpyia, Harpies

The ‘snatchers’, Aellopus and Ocypete, the fair-haired, loathsome, winged daughters of Thaumas and the ocean nymph Electra, who snatch up criminals for punishment by the Furies. They lived in a cave in Cretan Dicte. They plagued Phineus of Salmydessus, the blind prophet, and were chased away by the winged sons of Boreas. An alternative myth has Phineus drive them away to the Strophades where Ovid has Aeneas meet the harpy Aëllo, and Virgil, Celaeno. They are foul-bellied birds with girls’ faces, and clawed hands, and their faces are pale with hunger. (See Virgil Aeneid III:190-220)

Book TIV.VII:1-26 Ovid sceptically lists the ‘unbelievable’ myths that he would have to believe in first before he could believe in this friends disloyalty.


The chief river of Thrace.

Book EI.V:1-42 Ovid suggests he is being asked to perform the impossible, equivalent to the distant Lixus running into the Hebrus.


The daughter of Zeus-Jupiter and Hera-Juno, born without a father. She was the wife of Hercules after his deification, and had the power to renew life. She was the cupbearer of the Olympians.

Book TIII.V:1-56 Married Hercules.

Book EI.X:1-44 Cupbearer to the gods.


The Trojan hero, eldest son of Priam and Hecuba, the husband of Andromache and father of Astyanax. After killing Patroclus he was himself killed by Achilles and his body dragged round the walls of Troy. His body was yielded to Priam for burial, and his funeral forms the close of Homer’s Iliad.

Book TI. IX:1-66 He praised the loyalty of Patroclus to Achilles.

Book TI.X:1-50 ‘Hector’s city’ was Ophrynion, the site of his purported grave.

Book TIII. XI:1-38 Book TIV.III:1-48 No longer Hector, dragged behind Achilles’ horses.

Book TIV.III:49-84 He would have been unknown if not for the War.

Book TV.IV:1-50 Priam his father grieving at his death.

Book TV.XIV:1-46 Andromache, his faithful wife.

Book EII.XI:1-28 Uncle to Ascanius the son of his brother Aeneas.

Book EIV.VII:1-54 Attempted to destroy the Greek ships with fire.

Ibis:311-364 Book EIV.XVI:1-52 His body was dragged three times round the walls of Troy by Achilles’ chariot.

Ibis:541-596 Father of Astyanax.


The daughter of Leda and Jupiter (Tyndareus was her putative father), sister of Clytemnaestra, and the Dioscuri. The wife of Menelaüs. She was taken, by Paris, to Troy, instigating the Trojan War.

Diomede son of Tydeus was in love with her before her abduction. Ovid treates her as an adulteress, to be blushed for.


The seven daughters of the Sun god and Clymene. They mourned their brother Phaethon. Two of them are named. Lampetia and the eldest Phaethüsa. Turned into poplars beside the River Po as they mourned Phaethon their brother, their tears become drops of amber. See Metamorphoses Book II:329


The highest mountain in Boeotia (5968 ft) near the Gulf of Corinth, was the mountain where the Muses lived. It is a continuation of the Parnassus Range lying between Lake Copais and the Gulf. The sacred springs of Helicon were Aganippe and Hippocrene both giving poetic inspiration. (The Muses’ other favourite haunt was Mount Parnassus in Phocis with its Castalian Spring. They also guarded the oracle at Delphi.) Hesiod’s village of Ascra was on the lower slopes.

Book TIV.I:49-107 The haunt of the Muses.

Book TIV.X:1-40  Book TIV.X:93-132 Book EIV.II:1-50 The symbolic place of poetry.


The daughter of Athamas and Nephele, sister of Phrixus, and granddaughter of Aeolus. Escaping from Ino on the golden ram, she fell into the sea and was drowned, giving her name to the Hellespont, the straits that link the Propontis with the Aegean Sea.

Book TI.X:1-50 Helle’s sea: the Hellespont, and the corner of the north-weast Aegean at its entrance. The Minerva sailed on through it, leaving Ovid to take his alternative route to Tomis from Samothrace.

Book TIII. XII:1-54 Carried by the ram, which here signifies the constellation Aries, the constellation of the spring equinox at that time.


The probable author of the Sybaritica, tales of Sybaris.

Book TII:361-420 Classed as containing obscene material.


Book EIV.X:1-34 A Sarmatian people who indulged in piracy.

Henna, Enna

The town in central Sicily. Scene of the rape of Persephone by Dis. Its lake is the Lago di Pergusa. Also scene of the First Sicilian Slave War (135-132BC)

Book EII.X:1-52 Visited by Ovid and Macer.


(The following material covered by Ovid in the Metamorphoses). The Hero, son of Jupiter. He was set in the sky as the constellation Hercules between Lyra and Corona Borealis. The son of Jupiter and Alcmena, the wife of Amphitryon (so Hercules is of Theban descent, and a Boeotian). Called Alcides from Amphitryon’s father Alceus. Called also Amphitryoniades. Called also Tyrinthius from Tiryns his city in the Argolis. Jupiter predicted at his birth that a scion of Perseus would be born, greater than all other descendants. Juno delayed Hercules’ birth and hastened that of Eurystheus, grandson of Perseus, making Hercules subservient to him. Hercules was set twelve labours by Eurystheus at Juno’s instigation.

1.   The killing of the Nemean lion.

2.   The destruction of the Lernean Hydra. He uses the poison from the Hydra for his arrows.

3.   The capture of the stag with golden antlers.

4.   The capture of the Erymanthian Boar.

5.   The cleansing of the stables of Augeas king of Elis.

6.   The killing of the birds of the Stymphalian Lake in Arcadia.

7.   The capture of the Cretan wild bull.

8.   The capture of the mares of Diomede of Thrace, that ate human flesh.

9.   The taking of the girdle of Hippolyte, Queen of the Amazons.

10.The killing of Geryon and the capture of his oxen.

11.The securing of the apples from the Garden of the Hesperides. He held up the sky for Atlas in order to deceive him and obtain them.

12.The bringing of the dog Cerberus from Hades to the upper world.

He fought with Acheloüs for the hand of Deianira. He married Deianira, killed Nessus, fell in love with Iole, daughter of Eurytus who had cheated him, and received the shirt of Nessus from the outraged Deianira. (See Cavalli’s opera with Lully’s dances – Ercole Amante). He was then tormented to death by the shirt of Nessus.

Ibis:365-412 He killed King Antaeus of Libya, brother of Busiris, who was a giant, child of mother Earth, by lifting him from the ground that gave him strength, and, cracking his ribs, held him up until he died. He also killed Busiris, King of Egypt brother of Antaeus, who sacrificed strangers at the altars, to fulfil a prophecy that an eight-year drought and famine would end if he did so.

He killed the servant Lichas who brought the fatal shirt, then built a funeral pyre, and became a constellation and was deified. (See Canova’s sculpture – Hercules and Lichas – Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Rome). He had asked his son Hyllus, by Deianira to marry Iole. His birth is described when the sun is in the tenth sign, Capricorn, i.e. at midwinter, making him a solar god. His mother’s seven night labour would also make his birth at the new year, a week after the winter solstice. He captured Troy and  rescued Hesione, with the help of Telamon, and gave her to Telamon in marriage.

Philoctetes received his bow and arrows after his death, destined to be needed at Troy. Ulysses went to fetch Philoctetes and the arrows.

Book TII:361-420 He loved Iole, married and was loved by Deianira.

Book TIII.V:1-56 He was deified and married Hebe.

Book EIII.III:1-108 The bluff, frank and open hero type. The Fabii claimed descent from Hercules.

Book EIV.VIII:49-90 He attacked Oechalia when its king Eurytus refused him his daughter Iole. He killed Eurytus and carried off Iole.

Ibis:251-310 Sacrificing at the altars to Jupiter after taking Oechalia, Hercules put on the shirt of Nessus, and the poison of the Hydra tormented him, and corroded his flesh. Philoctetes received his bow. Taught the lyre by Eumolpus whom he defeated in contest. Hercules was the son of Jupiter connected with the shrine of Jupiter Ammon in Libya.

Ibis:311-364 Ibis:597-644 He endured the torment of the shirt of Nessus and built his funeral pyre on Mount Oeta, between Aetolia and Thessaly. (see Metamorphoses IX:159)

Book EIV.XIII:1-50 Noted for his strength.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 Persecuted by Juno.


The daughter of Menelaus and Helen, niece of Castor and Pollux, betrothed at Troy to Neoptolemus (Pyrrhus) son of Achilles. Returning to Greece he found her married to Orestes, who subsequently killed him when he demanded her back.

Book TII:361-420 A victim of male passion.

Book EII.XI:1-28 Castor was her uncle.


Book EIV.XIV:1-62 The Greek poet (c 700 BC) of Ascra in Boeotia, on the slopes of Parnassus. To him are attributed the TheogonyWorks and Days, and Shield of Hercules.


Book TIV.IX:1-32 The West, and Italy. Hesperius, ‘of the evening’.


The fountain of the Muses on Mount Helicon.

Hippodamia, Hippodameia

In one version of myth Hippodamia was the daughter of Oenomaus, King of PisaPelops defeated the king in a chariot race and carried her off. He was assisted by Myrtilus the King’s charioteer, who was cursed by the King and in turn cursed Pelops leading to the feud between Atreus and Thyestes.

Book TII:361-420 The ‘Pisan’ girl carried off by Pelops.


The son of Theseus and the Amazon Hippolyte. He was admired by Phaedra, his step-mother, and was killed at Troezen, after meeting ‘a bull from the sea’. He was brought to life again by Aesculapius, and hidden by Diana (Cynthia, the moon-goddess) who set him down in the sacred grove at Arician Nemi, where he became Virbius, the consort of the goddess (as Adonis was of Venus, and Attis of Cybele), and the King of the Wood (Rex Nemorensis). All this is retold and developed in Frazer’s monumental work, on magic and religion, ‘The Golden Bough’ (see Chapter I et seq.). (See also Euripides’s play ‘Hippolytos’, and Racine’s ‘Phaedra’.)

Book TII:361-420 Euripides’ play dealing with illict love.

Ibis:541-596 Venus made him fall in love with Phaedra. He died when his horses stampeded at the vision of a bull from the sea.


Ibis:311-364 The son of Megareus. Great-grandson of Neptune. Falling in love with Atalanta, he determined to race against her, on penalty of death for failure.By means of the golden apples he won the race and claimed Atalanta.He desecrated Cybele’s sacred cave with the sexual act and was turned, with Atalanta, into a lion. The reference to his daughter is obscure, if this is the Hippomenes’ Ovid intended.


Book EI.VIII:1-70 The Danube, also called Danuvius.

Book TII:155-206 Tomis (Constantza) is south of the Danube estuary.

Book TIII. X:1-40 Book EIV.IX:55-88 Book EIV.X:1-34 A barrier against the warring tribes.

Book TIII. X:41-78 Book EI.II:53-100 In winter the tribes attack across the frozen Danube, riding their swift horses.

Book TIII. XII:1-54 The Sarmatians drive their wagons over the frozen river.

Book TIV.X:93-132 Book TV.VII:1-68 Book EIII.III:1-108

Book EIII.IV:57-115 Book EIII.V:1-58 The wide river of his exile.

Book TV.I:1-48 The Scythian Danube.

Book TV.X:1-53 Book EII.IV:1-34 The river frozen in winter.

Book EI.IV:1-58 Its estuary is nearer to Rome by sea, by a few hundred miles, than Colchis at the far end of the Black Sea is to Thessaly.

Book EI.V:43- 86 A region bereft of wit.

Book EIII.II:1-110 Far from Rome.

Ibis:135-162 Its cold waters.

Book EIV.VI:1-50 The delta is not far north of Tomis.


The Greek epic poet, (fl. c. 8th century BC? born Chios or Smyrna?), supposed main author of the Iliad and Odyssey.

Book TI.VI:1-36 Book TII:361-420 He made Penelope famous as a loyal wife, through the Odyssey.

Book TII:361-420 The story of the Iliad is centred around Helen’s adultery.

He also tells of Mars and Venus trapped by Hephaestus, and of Odysseus seduced by Circe and Calypso. (the last two in Odyssey V:13, X:133)

Book TIV.X:1-40 An example: the greatest poet.

Book EII.X:1-52 Author of the Iliad, an immortal.

Book EIII.IX:1-56 The greatest of epic poets.

Book EIV.II:1-50 Blessed by his location in Greece.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 Tuticanus translated part of the Odyssey.

Horatius, Horace

Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65-8BC) son of a freedman, and Augustan lyrical poet and satirist. He enjoyed the patronage of Maecenas who granted him his beloved Sabine farm. He was befriended by Augustus who failed to persuade him to become his private secretary. His lyrics imitate Greek poets (e.g. Sappho and Alcaeus) in matter and metre.

Book TIV.X:41-92 A member of Ovid’s poetic circle.


Quintus Hortensius Hortalus (114-50BC) was a prominent lawyer, but notorious for bribery. He defended Verres against Cicero but lost the case. He turned to a political career, becoming consul in 69 but after the formation of the First Triumvirate (60) he retreated from politics and returned to the law. His enormous wealth was accompanied by personal eccentricity. He also published erotic poetry.

Book TII:421-470 His verse.


The daughters of Atlas and Aethra, half-sisters of the Pleiades. They lived on Mount Nysa and nurtured the infant Bacchus. The Hyades are the star-cluster forming the ‘face’ of the constellation Taurus the Bull. The cluster is used as the first step in the distance scale of the galaxy. The stars were engraved on Achilles’s shield. As an autumn and winter constellation the Hyades indicated rain.

Book TI.XI:1-44 A sign of rain, when combined with a southerly wind.


Megara Hyblaea, a small town in eastern Sicily, near to and north of Syracuse, famous for its sweet-scented honey.  Modern Mellili.

Book TV.VI:1-46 The bees of Hybla.

Book TV.XIII:1-34 Book EII.VII:1-46 Noted for its fragrant thyme on which the bees fed.

Ibis:163-208 Its flowery meadows.

Book EIV.XV:1-42 Its honeycombs.


The son of Theiodamas, King of the Dryopians. Theiodamas attacked Hercules who killed him but spared Hylas for his beauty. They joined the Argonauts voyage and the boy was stolen by Naiads near the River Ascanius.

Book TII:361-420 Loved by Hercules.


The god of marriage who lived on Helicon with the Muses.

Book EI.II:101-150 He was symbolically present at a marriage.


A Sarmatian river, now the River Bug.

Book EIV.X:35-84 A river running into the Black Sea.


Ibis:465-540 The daughter of Thoas, who nursed Lycurgus’s son Opheltes. The boy was attacked and bitten to death by a serpent.


Nisus son of Hyrtacus.


Son of Jupiter and Corythus’s wife Electra. Ceres fell in love with him and lay with him in the thrice-ploughed field. She wished she could obtain a renewal of his youth. She gave birth to Plutus by him.

Book TII:253-312 Lover of Ceres.


Sarmatian tribe living near the Danube.

Book EI.II:53-100 Ibis:135-162 Book EIV.VII:1-54 Mentioned.


The mysterious enemy of Ovid, subject of his curse-poem Ibis based on a poem of Callimachus’s. TIV.IX has close similarities with Ibis:1-61.

Ibis:41-104 Ovid adopts the name Ibis as a cover for his true enemy.


Book EIII.1:105-166 Penelope daughter of Icarius.


Book TV.V:27-64 The father of Penelope.

Ibis:541-596 Odysseus was the above’s son-in-law.

Ibis:597-644 Also Icarius or Icarus the father of Erigone, killed by drunken shepherds.


The son of Daedalus for whom his father fashioned wings of wax and feathers like his own in order to escape from Crete. Flying too near the sun, despite being warned, the wax melts and he drowns in the Icarian Sea, and is buried on the island of Icaria. ( See W H Auden’s poem ‘Musée des Beaux Arts’ referring to Brueghel’s painting, Icarus, in Brussels) See Ovid’s Metamorphoses Book VIII:183

Book TI.I:70-128 Book TV.II:1-44 He gave his name to the Icarian Sea.

Book TIII.IV:1-46 He flew too near the sun.

Ida, Idaean ‘measures’

The extensive range of mountains in western Mysia, the highest peak Gargaros rising to over 4500 feet and commanding a fine view of the Hellespont and Propontis. There is also a Cretan Mount Ida.

Book TIV.I:1-48 The rites of the Bacchantes, celebrated on the Mysian Mount Ida.

Ibis:163-208 Heavily wooded.


Ibis:465-540 The seer, the son of Apollo and Cyrene. He was one of the Argonauts and was killed by a wild boar by the river Lycus on the Black Sea coast.

Ilia, Rhea Silvia

The daughter of Aeneas (Greek myth) or Numitor (Roman version), the Vestal who bore Romulus and Remus, to the god Mars.

Book TII:253-312 She was impregnated by Mars. See the entry for Romulus.


Ilian, and so Trojan.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 Used of Macer a poet in Ovid’s list of his lesser contemporaries.


Remus son of Ilia.

Book TIV.III:1-48 Remus.


Illyris, the district along the east coast of the Adriatic.

Book TI.IV:1-28 Ovid sails by on his way to exile.

Book TII:207-252 Tiberius and Germanicus defeated the Pannonian and Illyrian rebels in the second Illyrian war of the summer of 9AD.

Book EII.II:75-126 The Roman Illyricum roughly the Eastern Balkans was divided after the Pannonian War into Dalmatia and Pannonia.

Book EIV.XIV:1-62 Pitch obtained from there.

Ilva, Aethale, Aethalia

The island of Elba.


The north Aegean island to the south west of the Thracian Chersonese near Samothrace and Lemnos.

Book TI.X:1-50 Ovid touched port there.


The daughter of Eurytus, king of Oechalia, whom Hercules was enamoured of. He carried her off after killing her father, causing Deianeira to give him the shirt of Nessus drenched in the Centaur’s blood supposedly mixed with a love potion but in fact the Hydra’s venom from Hercules’s own arrow.

Book TII:361-420 Loved by Hercules.


The Ionian Sea, between Greece and southern Italy (not the coast of Ionia).

Book TI.IV:1-28 Book EIV.V:1-46 Ovid crossed the wintry Adriatic on his way to exile.

Book TII:253-312 Juno drove Io over the sea.


Evadne the daughter of Iphis.

Book EIII.1:105-166 Evadne.


The daughter of Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, and Clytaemnestra. She is called Mycenis. She was sacrificed by her father at Aulis, to gain favourable winds for the passage to Troy but snatched away by Diana to Tauris, a deer being left in her place. Orestes her brother found her there and they fled to Athens with the image of the goddess. She later became priestess of Diana-Artemis at Brauron.

Book TIV.IV:43-88 Book EIII.II:1-110 The priestess of the altar of Diana in the Tauric Chersonese where human sacrifices were offered.


The Ithacan beggar with whom Ulysses had a boxing match on returning to his palace. His nickname Irus was a version of Iris since he was also a messenger, at the beck and call of the suitors.

Book TIII.VII:1-54 Ibis:413-464 An example of poverty.


The Egyptian Goddess, in Greek mythology the deified Io and identified also with Ceres-Demeter. Goddess of the domestic arts. Her cult absorbed the other great goddesses and spread through the Graeco-Roman world as far as the Rhine. Isis was the star of the sea, and the goddess of travellers. Osiris was her husband, whom she searched for, in the great vegetation myth of Egypt. She carries the sacred rattle or sistrum, and on her forehead she carries the horns, moon disc, and ears of corn symbolising her moon, fertility and cow attributes. (In Sulla’s time a college of priests had been founded in Rome and there was a shrine by 48BC. The cult did not receive State approval in Augustus’s time, due to his concern to revive traditional Roman values).

Book TII:253-312 Identified with Io, Daughter of Inachus a river-god of Argolis, who was chased and raped by Jupiter. She was changed to a heifer by Jupiter and conceded as a gift to Juno. She was then guarded by hundred-eyed Argus. After Mercury killed Argus, driven by Juno’s fury Io reached the Nile, and was returned to human form. With her son Epaphus she was worshipped in Egypt as a goddess. Io is therefore synonymous with Isis (or Hathor the cow-headed goddess with whom she was often confused), and Epaphus with Horus. Ovid suggests Juno drove her across the seas east of Greece.

Book EI.I:37-80 The cult of Isis was associated with the island of Pharos near Alexandria. The sacred rattle, the sistrum was a feature of the rites. Isis’s followers dressed in white linen, in imitation of the Egyptian goddess.


The Ionian island off the west coast of Greece between the Acarnian Coast and Cephallenia, the home of Ulysses (Odysseus). At the time of the Odyssey thickly wooded.

Book TI.V:45-84 The site of Ulysses’ palace, synonymous with Dulichium.

Book EI.III:1-48 Ulysses, the Ithacan, also longed for home.

Book EII.VII:47-84 Ulysses the Ithacan met with no stormier seas than Ovid on his journey.


The son of Tereus and Procne, murdered by his mother in revenge for Tereus’s rape of Philomela, and his flesh served to his father at a banquet.

Book TII:361-420 Mourned by Procne.

Iulus, Ascanius

The son of Aeneas from whom the Julian family claimed descent.

Book EI.I:37-80 Book EII.II:1-38 Book EII.V:41-76 The supposed origin of the Julian clan.

Book EII.XI:1-28 Hector was one of his uncles.


Ibis:163-208 King of the Lapithae, father of Pirithoüs, and of the Centaurs. He attempted to seduce Juno, but Jupiter created a false image of her, caught Ixion in the act with this simulacrum, and bound him to a fiery wheel that turns in the Underworld.


Book EIV.IV:1-50 The Roman two-headed god of doorways and beginnings, equivalent to the Hindu elephant god Ganesh. The Janus mask is often depicted with one melancholy and one smiling face. The first month of the year in the Julian calendar was named for him, January (Ianuarius).


The son of Aeson, leader of the Argonauts, and hero of the adventure of the Golden Fleece. The fleece is represented in the sky by the constellation and zodiacal sign of Aries, the Ram. In ancient times it contained the point of the vernal equinox (The First Point of Aries) that has since moved by precession into Pisces. He reached Colchis and the court of King Aeetes where he accepted Medea’s help to secure the fleece and married her before returning to Iolchos.

He acquired the throne of Corinth, and married a new bride Glauce. Medea in revenge for his disloyalty to her sent Glauce a wedding gift of a golden crown and white robe, that burst into flames when she put them on, and consumed her and the palace. Medea then killed her own sons by Jason, and fled his wrath. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses Book VII.

Book EI.III:49-94 Exiled from Thessaly to Corinth.

Book EI.IV:1-58 Praised for his efforts in reaching the Black Sea, but Ovid’s journey was longer, since Rome is further from the Danube estuary, than Thessaly is from Colchis.

Book EIII.1:1-66 The first Greek to sail into the Black Sea.


The Numidian King conquered by Marius. He died in prison at Rome in 104BC.

Book EIV.III:1-58 Marius defeated Jugurtha in Numidia, and held a triumph in 104BC.

Julia (1)

The only daughter (39BC-14AD) of Augustus and Scribonia. She married Marcellus and then Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa to whom she bore Gaius and Lucius Caesar, Agrippina who married Germanicus, Agrippa Posthumus and Julia the younger (2). She then married Tiberius. Augustus banished her to the island of Pandataria in 2BC for her dissolute lifestyle, and for political intrigue also. She was involved with Iullus Antonius the younger son of Mark Antony and Fulvia, educated at Rome by Augustus’s sister Octavia. Julia and her associates planned to replace Tiberius with Antonius as consort to Augustus. Iullus was allowed to commit suicide when the plans were discovered. Scribonia followed Julia into exile and the plot probably centred on Scribonia’s family faction. Julia was moved to Rhegium (Reggio) on the mainland in 4AD but never released. Tiberius effectively had her starved to death (officially she committed suicide) in AD14.

Julia (2)

The daughter (19BC-28AD) of the elder Julia (1) and Agrippa. She was married to Lucius Aemelius Paullus and shared his disgrace when his conspiracy against Augustus (aimed at Tiberius) was discovered in 6AD. He was executed and she was ultimately (8AD) banished to the island of Trimerum off the coast of Apulia (officially for adultery) and died there. Ovid’s crime may well have been linked to her set, and a clandestine and unacceptable marriage (perhaps to Decimus Iunius Silanus her lover, with whom she had been accused of adultery: she had an illegitimate child in exile, not raised or recognised.) that he had witnessed or less likely some aspect of the plotting against Augustus. The date of his relegatio (banishment) is surely more than coincidental.

Juno, Hera

The daughter of Rhea and Saturn, wife and sister of Jupiter, and the queen of the gods. A representation of the pre-Hellenic Great Goddess. (See the Metope of Temple E at Selinus – The Marriage of Hera and Zeus – Palermo, National Museum.)

Book TII:253-312 Her husband Jupiter noted for his adulteries. See the Metamorphoses. She persecuted Io, who was worshipped as Isis.

Book TIII.V:1-56 Book EIV.XVI:1-52.  She persecuted Hercules who ended up married to Hebe her daughter.

Book EI.IV:1-58 She protected Jason and the Argonauts. Ovid implies no deity protected him, which does not rule out his possibly being aided by lesser members of the Augustan or Julian families.

Book EIII.1:105-166 Ovid suggests Livia has the character and ways of Juno, a dubious compliment.

Jupiter, Zeus

The sky-god, the Greek Zeus, son of Saturn and Rhea, born on Mount Lycaeum in Arcadia and nurtured on Mount Ida in Crete. The oak is his sacred tree. His emblems of power are the sceptre and lightning-bolt. His wife and sister is Juno (the Greek Hera). (See the sculpted bust (copy) by Brassides, the Jupiter of Otricoli, Vatican)

Book TI.V:45-84 Book EI.VII:1-70 Equated with Augustus.

Book TII.I:1 Book TII:120-154 Book TII:313-360 Book TIII.V:1-56 Book TIV.VIII:1-52 Book EIII.VI:1-60 His weapon is the lightning-bolt.

Book TII:253-312 Noted for his adulteries. See the Metamorphoses.

Book TIII.I:1-46 The Temple of Jupiter Stator (the Stayer).

Book TIII. XI:39-74 His anger against Ovid is greater than Neptune’s against Ulysses.

Book TIV.IV:1-42 A reference to Augustus as Jupiter, and a dubious use of the verb celebrare which means to frequent as well as celebrate. Possibly Ovid is making one of his traditional jibes at Augustus’s supposed homosexuality in a letter to a man who might just appreciate it, but showing Ovid’s dangerous willingness to tread the fine line. He follows it with a cleverly ambiguous comment on divinity. Is Augustus seen to be a god or only believed to be one?

Book TIV.IX:1-32 Jupiter’s sacred oak-tree and lightning bolt are connected by the occurrence of the natural phenomenon. Oak trees are particularly susceptible to lightning blasts.

Book TV.II:45-79 Augustus as Jupiter, the ruler of the world mirrors the ruler of the heavens and the gods.

Book TV.III:1-58 Jupiter blasted Capaneus with lightning.

Book EII.I:68 Jupiter Pluvius, the rain-bringer.

Book EII.II:39-74 Augustus is also Jupiter Capitolinus, the Tarpeian Thunderer, from Jupiter’s Temples on the Capitoline. The great temple was augmented by the lower temple to Jupiter Tonans, the Thunderer, in 22BC, the first of the two reached on climbing the Capitoline (Cassius Dio The Roman History 54.4)

Book EII.VIII:37-76 The worship of images of Jupiter and other gods.

Book EII.IX:1-38 Ritual sacrifice of animals in front of Jupiter’s temples.

Ibis:209-250 In astrology a beneficent planet, ruling knowledge, travel etc. Jupiter was the father of Mercury, by Maia.

Ibis:251-310 Jupiter’s temple of Ammon in Libya where he was the ram-horned god.

Ibis:311-364 Cambyses sent an army to attack the Ammonians and the temple of Jupiter at Ammon (Siwa Oasis, El Khargeh) but the army vanished in a sandstorm. (Herodotus III.26)

Ibis:541-596 Married his sister Juno, and avenged his grandfather


An ancient Roman goddess later identified with the Greek Hebe.

Book EI.X:1-44 Hebe.

Lacedaemon, Sparta

Book EI.III:49-94 The chief city of Laconia on the River Eurotas, better known as Sparta.


See Fates.

Book TV.X:1-53 She measured the thread of life.


 Book TV.V:1-26The father of Ulysses, and son of Arcesius.


A mythical race of cannibal giants appearing in Odyssey Book X. Under their king Antiphates they captured and ate several of Ulysses’s men. Traditionally located in Magna Graecia, but perhaps from regions further north.

Book EII.IX:39-80 Their savage King Antiphates.

Book EIV.X:1-34 Not as bad as the Thracian tribes.

Ibis:365-412 Attacked Ulysses’ men.


A Greek town on the eastern shore of the Hellespont (Dardanelles) opposire Callipolis (Gallipoli), colonised in the 7th cent BC by Greeks from Phocaea. Artaxerxes I assigned the city to Themistocles. After the battle of Mycale (479) the citizens joined with the Athenians, and the city continued to flourish under the Greeks and the Romans. A good harbour and its position made it prosperous. The region is good for vines. It was a cult centre for the worship of the phallic god Priapus.

Book TI.X:1-50 On the Minerva’s route.


The daughter of the Argonaut Acastus, and granddaughter of Pelias. She married Protesilaus the first Greek ashore at Troy, fated to die on landing. She was granted three hours with him after his death when Hermes escorted him back from Hades. She then had a lifelike statue of him made which she loved in his place. Ordered by her father to burn the figure she threw herself into the flames.

Book TI.VI:1-36 Book TV.XIV:1-46 Ovid compares his wife to her for love and loyalty.

Book TV.V:27-64 Her response to her husband’s fate brought her fame.

Book EIII.1:105-166 Followed her husband to the Shades.


Beneficent spirits watching over the household, fields, public areas etc. Each house had a Lararium where the image of the Lar was kept. The Lares are usually coupled with the Penates the gods of the larder.

Book TI.III:1-46 Ovid’s wife prays before the Lares.

Book TI.X:1-50 Book EI.VII:1-70 Household gods.

Book TIII. XII:1-54 Book EI.I:1-36 The household or home, rather than merely a dwelling-place or temporary lodging.

Book TIV.VIII:1-52 Old weapons dedicated to them.

Ibis:41-104 Powers invoked by Ovid.


An Augustan poet, who wrote an epic on the wanderings of Antenor (who founded Padua), sometimes identified with Valerius Largus the accuser of Cornelius Gallus.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 A poet in Ovid’s list of his lesser contemporaries.


Ibis:311-364 Larisa was the daughter of Pelasgos, and two of the cities of Thessaly were named after her. There was an Aleuas of Larissa who organised the Thessalian League in the seventh century BC, and claimed descent from Hercules. The incident described is obscure.


Book EIV.XVI:1-52 A country in Central Italy, containing Rome. (The modern Lazio region. It originally designated the small area between the mouth of the Tiber and the Alban Hills. With the Roman conquest it was extended south-east to the Gulf of Gaeta, and west to the mountains of Abruzzo, forming the so-called Latium novum or adiectum.)

Latona, Leto

Daughter of the Titan Coeus, and mother of Apollo and Artemis (Diana) by Jupiter-Zeus. Pursued by a jealous Juno, she was given sanctuary by Delos, a floating island. There between an olive tree and a date-palm she gave birth to Apollo and Diana-Artemis, by Mount Cynthus. Delos became fixed. A variant has Artemis born on the nearby islet of Ortygia.

Book TV.I:49-80 Her children, Apollo and Diana, slew Niobe’s children.

Book EIV.XIV:1-62 She found refuge on Delos.


A young man of Abydos on the narrows of the Hellespont (Dardanelles) who fell in love with Hero, the priestess of Aphrodite in Sestos on the opposite bank. He would swim the Hellespont to visit her and eventually was drowned. The subject of a poem by Musaeus (5th century AD) and treated by Ovid in the Heroides.

Book TIII. X:41-78 If he’d been further north in winter he could have walked across!


The north Aegean island south west of Imbros, and the home of Vulcan the blacksmith of the gods. Philoctetes was bitten by a snake there, and on Ulysses advice was abandoned there. He had inherited the bow and arrows of Hercules and Ulysses subsequently sailed for the island to bring them back to be used at TroyThoas was once king there when the Lemnian women murdered their menfolk because of their adultery with Thracian girls. His life was spared because his daughter Hypsipyle set him adrift in an oarless boat.

Book TV.I:49-80 Philoctetes abandoned there.

Ibis:365-412 The Lemnian women who killed their husbands.


Catullus’s name for his sweetheart Clodia.

Book TII:421-470 His pseudonym for her.


The island in the eastern Aegean. Among its cities were Mytilene and Methymna. Famous as the home of Sappho the poetess, whose love of women gave rise to the term lesbian.

Book TII:361-420 Sappho, the Lesbian.

Book TIII.VII:1-54 Sappho of Lesbos.


A river of the Underworld, Hades, whose waters bring forgetfulness.

Its stream flows from the depths of the House of Sleep, and induces drowsiness with its murmuring. (Hence the stream of forgetfulness).

Book TI.VIII:1-50 Book TIV.I:1-48  Book TIV.IX:1-32

Book EII.IV:1-34 The waters of oblivion.

Book EIV.I:1-36 The waters of forgetfulness.

Leucadia, Leucas

A large island near Acharnarnia in the Ionian Sea west of Greece, to the north of Ithaca. Once joined to the mainland. (The Corinthians bored a channel through the isthmus in the 7th century BC, see Ernle Bradford’s ‘Ulysses Found’ Appendix II)

Book TIII.I:1-46 Augustus dedicated his victory at Actium to Apollo, since there was a temple to the god there.

Book TV.II:45-79 Criminals were hurled from the cliffs of the island near Apollo’s temple to avert evil. (Strabo 10.2.9, Ovid Fasti V:630). This was also the mythical site of Sappho’s suicide, presumably because of the presence of Apollo’s sacred site.


Ibis:251-310 There was a Leucon son of Athamas who sickened and died of disease. The reference is obscure.

Leucothea, Ino

The White Goddess, the sea-goddess into whom Ino was changed, who as a sea-mew helps Ulysses (See Homer’s Odyssey). She is a manifestation of the Great Goddess in her archetypal form. (See Robert Graves’s ‘The White Goddess’). Ino, the daughter of Cadmus, wife of Athamas, and sister of Semele and Agave fostered the infant Bacchus. She participated in the killing of Pentheus and incurred the hatred of Juno. Maddened by Tisiphone, and the death of her son Learchus, at the hand of his father, she leapt into the sea, and was changed to the sea-goddess Leucothoë by Neptune, at Venus’s request.

Book EIII.VI:1-60 Ibis:251-310 She helped Ulysses. (Speculatively if Neptune is Augustus, and Juno is Livia, then Leucothea, that Ino who incurred Juno’s hatred, is conceivably Scribonia, the elder Julia or one of her set, who aided Ovid after the disaster).

Ibis:465-540 As Ino she nursed the infant Bacchus-Dionysus.

Liber, see Bacchus

An ancient rural god of Italy who presided over planting and fructification. He became associated (as Liber Pater) with Bacchus-Dionysus.

Book TV.III:1-58 Book EIV.VIII:49-90 Identified with Bacchus.


Liberty. The Atrium Libertatis, north of the Forum, was where Asinius Pollio established a public library.

Book TIII.I:47-82 Ovid’s books banned from the libraries.


The coastal district of North Africa, west of Egypt.

Book TI.III:1-46 Ovid’s daughter by his second wife travelled there with her husband, Cornelius Fidus, the provincial senator.

Ibis:163-208 Extensive coastal waters.


Ibis:465-540 The servant who brought Hercules the gift of Nessus given to Deianira, the envenomed shirt that killed him. Hercules killed Lichas, throwing him from the Euboean heights.


Ibis:465-540 Ibis:541-596 The son of Psamathe daughter of Crotopus of Argos. Linus was torn to pieces by Crotopus’s hounds. Not to be confused with the Poet Linus brother of Orpheus.

Livia Augusta

Livia Drusilla (58BC-29AD), the daughter of Marcus Livius Drusus Claudianus, who became Empress. Her first husband was Tiberius Claudius Nero (who fought against Octavian-Augustus in the Perusine War) to whom she bore Tiberius, later Emperor and Drusus the father of Germanicus, who was Octavian’s future general in Germany.  She married Octavian, the future Augustus, in 38BC, while he was Triumvir, he having forced Claudius to relinquish her. She bore Augustus no children, but exercised great power over him and the succession, helping to secure it for Tiberius. Ovid may have been involved in the anti-Claudian party and so have crossed Livia or her supporters, preventing any chances of reprieve from his exile.

Book TI.VI:1-36 Ovid’s third wife had some acquaintance with Livia, presumably through the household of Paullus Fabius Maximus, and his wife Marcia. She may have been a relative of the Fabian house, and editors have dubbed her Fabia (though on scant evidence).

Book TII:155-206 Livia married Augustus (17 January 38BC) after her enforced divorce from Tiberius Claudius Nero by whom she was already pregnant. Ovid is perhaps alluding to this and Augustus’s bachelor adventures.

Book TIV.II:1-74 Her son Tiberius fighting in Germany.

Book TIV.X:93-132 Livor, Envy, here may possibly be a veiled reference to Livia, but that is highly speculative.

Book EI.IV:1-58 A reference to Livia, possibly barbed.

Book EII.II:39-74 A further mention of her.

Book EII.VIII:1-36 Cotta Maximus sent Ovid portraits of Augustus, Tiberius and Livia.

Book EII.VIII:1-36 Even in this eulogy there is a mischievous sub-text. The relations between Livia and Augustus are lightly touched on.

Book EIII.1:105-166 Ovid suggests his wife approaches Livia on his behalf.

Book EIII.III:1-108 Book EIII.IV:57-115 The mother of Tiberius.

Book EIV.IX:89-134 As the deified Augustus’s widow worshipped by Ovid as divine.

Book EIV.XIII:1-50 Compared to Vesta.


Claudia Livilla Julia the Elder (b. 13BC), sister to Germanicus and the future emperor Claudius, and daughter of Drusus Senior (Nero Claudius Drusus), Livia’s son. She married Gaius Caesar grandson of Augustus, and after his death her first cousin Drusus Junior the son of Tiberius by Vipsania, whom she is said to have poisoned in 23 at the instigation of her lover Sejanus, the ambitious praetorian prefect.

Book TIV.II:1-74 Drusus the younger, fighting alongside Tiberius in Germany in AD10.


A river flowing to the sea on the west coast of Mauretania.

Book EI.V:1-42 Ovid suggests he is being asked to perform the impossible, equivalent to the Lixus running into the Hebrus (Maritza) which flows thrugh Thrace.


The morning star (the planet Venus in dawn aspect).

Book TI.III:47-102 Risen while Ovid was saying his farewells.

Book TIII.V:1-56 Herald of the sun.

Book TIV.X:1-40 The dawn, the day.

Book EII.V:41-76 The morning star.


Titus Lucretius Carus (c95-c54BC) the greatest Roman didactic poet and author of the De Rerum Natura a verse treatise in six books on Epicurean theory.

Book TII:253-312 Ovid quotes the first words of De Rerum Natura, ‘Aeneadum genetrix’.

Book TII:421-470 He dealt scientifically with the elements, and atomic theory, following Epicurus.


The moon goddess. A manifestation of Artemis-Diana-Phoebe, sister of Apollo-Sol-Phoebus.

Book TI.III:1-46 The moon. She drives a chariot pulled by black horses.

Book TII:253-312 She loved Endymion.


An Augustan poet who wrote about the homecoming of Helen and Menelaus.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 A poet in Ovid’s list of his lesser contemporaries.


An epithet of Bacchus meaning ‘the deliverer from care’.

Book EI.X:1-44 Wine, the gift of Bacchus.


Son of Pelasgus. Lycaon was a king of primitive Arcadia (Parrhasia) who presided over barbarous cannibalistic practises. He was transformed into a wolf by Zeus, angered by human sacrifice. His sons offered Zeus, disguised as a traveller, a banquet containing human remains. They were also changed into wolves and Zeus then precipitated a great flood to cleanse the world. The father of Callisto who was changed into the Great Bear, hence the north pole is ‘Lycaonian’ or ‘Parrhasian’.

Book TI.III:47-102 The Great Bear is Parrhasian.

Book TIII.II:1-30 The northern pole.

Ibis:465-540 His barbaric banquets.


Ibis:465-540 An Alexandrian Greek poet, of the early 3d cent. BC born in Chalcis, one of the Pleiad, a group of seven tragic poets of Alexandria who flourished under Ptolemy II Philadelphus. His only extant poem Cassandra or Alexandra, is an obscure and difficult work in iambic verse. In ancient times his tragedies were highly esteemed. May be intended here.


The mistress of Cornelius Gallus (probably his pseudonym for her).

Book TII:421-470 Mentioned.


King of the Edonians (Edoni) of Thrace who opposed Bacchus’ entry into his kingdom at the River Strymon and tried to cut down the god’s vines. Lycurgus was driven mad and killed his own son Dryas with an axe thinking he was a vine, and hewed at his own foot thinking it one. He pruned the corpse, and the Edonians, horrified, instructed by Bacchus, tore Lycurgus to pieces with wild horses on Mount Pangaeum. There are many variants of this myth.

Book TV.III:1-58 His offence against Bacchus.

Ibis:465-540 Ovid appears to give an alternative myth of Dryas’s death if this is the Lycurgus intended.


Ibis:597-644 Ovid may refer to the Athenian orator (c.396-325BC).Pupil of Plato and Isocrates, Lycurgus became a successful financier, statesman and orator in Athens. He increased the wealth of Athens after readministrating its finances, and had several buildings built or refurbished. He was on Demosthenes side in the orator’s opposition to Philip II of Macedon.


Rivers of that name in Bithynia and in Pontus.

Ibis:41-104 Arrows stained in Scythian blood.

Book EIV.X:35-84 A river running into the Black Sea.


Ibis:465-540 The King of Thebes whose wife was Dirce, and niece was Antiope.


The wife of Antimachus.

Book TI.VI:1-36 A loved wife.


Ibis:541-596 Son of Aeolus. He slept with his sister Canace, whom Aeolus in horror drove to suicide.

Macer (1)

Aemilius Macer, a poet who wrote of birds, serpents and plants, and was an old man in Ovid’s day.

Book TIV.X:41-92 Mentioned.

Macer (2)

An epic poet who wrote about Troy, who travelled with Ovid in Sicily and was known to his third wife.

Book TI.VIII:1-50 Book EIV.III:1-58 Possibly the faithless friend depicted here.

Book EII.X:1-52 Addressed explicitly to him.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 A poet in Ovid’s list of his lesser contemporaries.


Son of Aesculapius the Greek god of medicine, who inherited his father’s skills along with his brother Podalirius.

Book EI.III:1-48 He cured Philoctetes the archer.

Book EIII.IV:1-56 His medical skill.

Maenads, Maenades, Bacchantes

The female followers of Bacchus-Dionysus, noted for their ecstatic worship of the god. Dionysus brought terror and joy. The Maenads’ secret female mysteries may indicate older rituals of ecstatic human sacrifice. They dressed in fawn skins, wreathed themselves with ivy, and carried the thyrsus a ritual wand tipped with a pine-cone. See Euripides’ The Bacchae.


Homer, so called from Maeonia a name for Lydia in Asia Minor where he was born according to one legend, or because his father was Maion.

Book TI.I:1-68 Homer too would fail faced with similar troubles.

Book TI.VI:1-36 He made Penelope famous as a loyal wife, through the Odyssey.

Book TIV.X:1-40 Even this greatest of poets died poor.

Book EIII.III:1-108 Book EIV.XII:1-50 The epic poetry of Homer.


The kingdom of Thrace, from the Maeotes who lived near the Sea of Azov, but used as a general term for the Pontus region.

Book TIII. XII:1-54 The Black Sea region.

Book EIII.II:1-110 Thoas the King of Thrace.


The daughter of Atlas, a Pleiad, and mother of Mercury by Jupiter.

Ibis:209-250 Ibis:465-540 The mother of Mercury.


The di manes, the good deities, a generic term for the gods of the lower world and later for the shades of the dead who were regarded as divine.

Book TI. IX:1-66 Visited by Theseus.


The daughter of Lucius Marcius Philippus and wife of Paullus Fabius MaximusFabia, Ovid’s third wife, had been a member of the household and was a friend of Marcia.

Book EI.II:101-150 Book EIII.1:67-104 Ovid’s third wife was one of her companions.

Marius (1)

Gaius Marius, the consul, conqueror of the CimbriJugurtha etc. When Sulla entered Rome in 88BC, Marius hid in the marshes of Minturnae and later escaped to Africa.

Book EIV.III:1-58 He defeated Jugurtha in Numidia, and held a triumph in 104BC. He defeated the Cimbri and Teutones at Aquae Sextiae and Vercellae in 102-1BC, and held a record seven consulships, the last being in 86.

Marius (2)

An Augustan poet.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 A poet in Ovid’s list of his lesser contemporaries.

Mars, Ares

The war god, son of Jupiter, the Roman name for the Greek god Ares. An old name for him is Mavors or Mamers. In his military aspect he became known as Gradivus.

Book TII:253-312 His great temple in Rome was that of Mars Ultor, Mars the Avenger, in the Forum Augusti built as a result of Octavian’s vow at Philippi in 42BC to avenge Julius Caesar’s murder. It was dedicated in 2BC. The statues of Mars and Venus were inside the shrine while Vulcan’s was in the lobby. The statues of Venus Genetrix and Mars by Arcesilaus were linked by the descending figure of Cupid. The goddess was depicted fully clothed, perhaps in armour.

Book TII:361-420 Famously caught in the act by Hephaestus (Vulcan) Venus’s husband.

Book TV.II:45-79 A synonym for war.

Book TV.VII:1-68 The warlike Sarmatians and Getae are Mars incarnate.

Book EIII.VI:1-60 The god who determines death in battle.

Ibis:209-250 In astrology a maleficent planet, ruling war, passion, and sexuality.


Domitius Marsus, an Augustan poet, known for his epigrams. He wrote an epitaph on Tibullus and an epic on the Amazons.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 A poet in Ovid’s list of his lesser contemporaries.


Satyr of Phrygia who challenged Apollo to a contest in musical skill, and was flayed alive by the God when he was defeated.  (An analogue for the method of making primitive flutes, Minerva’s invention, by extracting the core from the outer sheath) (See Perugino’s painting – Apollo and Marsyas – The Louvre, Paris). He taught the famous flute-player, Olympus.

Book EIII.III:1-108 He taught Olympus.

Ibis:541-596 A river named after him in Asia Minor.

Maximus (1)

Marcus Aurelius Cotta Maximus. See Cotta.

Maximus (2)

Paullus Fabius Maximus (born not later than 45BC, died 14AD). His wife was Marcia, the daughter of Lucius Marcius Philippus and a first cousin of Augustus. She was a friend of Ovid’s third wife. Paullus Maximus was of the famous patrician clan of the Fabii, which included Paullus Aemilius and Fabius Cunctator. An orator, he was consul in 11BC and a trusted friend of Augustus. He journeyed with Augustus to the island of Planasia at the end of Augustus’s life in the spring of 14AD, the island where Agrippa Postumus, his grandson, the son of Agrippa and Julia the Elder, was imprisoned. Tacitus has it that mutual affection was expressed between grandfather and grandson, and that Fabius reported as such to his wife Marcia, who in turn told Livia who knew nothing of the journey. When Fabius died not long afterwards Marcia was supposedly heard to reproach herself at her husband’s funeral for inadvertently causing his death. This story led to a suggestion that Fabius committed suicide, and links him to the factions around Julia. The evidence however is flimsy.

Book EI.II:1-52 Addressed to Paullus. Ovid refers to the battle of 18th

July 477BC near the River Cremera, against the Veientes, when more than three hundred of the Fabii clan were said to have fought and only one survived. (Livy II:48)

Book EI.II:53-100 Book EI.II:101-150 He asks Paullus to plead for him with Augustus.

Book EIII.III:1-108 This letter addressed to him explicitly, recounting Ovid’s vision of Love.

Book EIII.VIII:1-24 Probably addressed to Paullus, given the reference to purple robes. He was consul in 11BC. The arrows are perhaps intended for their mutual enemies, those opposed to Julia’s faction.

Book EIV.VI:1-50 Ovid is concerned that pleading his case may have been a reason for Paullus’s death, though playing down his own importance. This letter certainly reiterates the close tie with Paullus, and the Fabian House, and Ovid’s realisation that the Julian hopes are finished with Tiberius’s accession.


The daughter of Aeetes, king of Colchis and the Caucasian nymph Asterodeia. She is called Aeetias. A famous sorceress. She conceived a passion for Jason and agonised over the betrayal of her country for him.( See Gustave Moreau’s painting ‘Jason and Medea’, Louvre, Paris: Frederick Sandys painting ‘Medea’, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, England: and Castiglione’s painting, ‘Medea casting a spell’, Wadsworth Athanaeum, Hartford, Connecticut). She determined to help Jason to win the Golden Fleece and made him swear on the altar of Triple Hecate to marry her. She gave him magic herbs to facilitate his tasks (probably including the Colchian crocus, meadow saffron, colchicum autumnale, that sprang from the blood of the tortured Prometheus. The plant is highly toxic, and the seeds and corms were collected for the extraction of the narcotic drug colchicinetinctura colchici, used as a specific against gout.) Jason carried out his tasks using the magic herbs, including magic juice (juniper?) to subdue the dragon, and took Medea back with him to Iolchos. When he subsequently abandoned her, she killed Glauce her rival, and then sacrificed her own sons, before fleeing to Athens where she married King Aegeus. She attempted to poison Theseus using aconite, but Aegeus recognised Theseus’s sword as his own, and dashed the cup away in time. Medea vanished in a mist conjured by her magic spells. Ovid tells part of her story in Book VII of the Metamorphoses, and wrote a lost play Medea about her.

Book TII:361-420 Her killing of her own children, driven by anger through slighted love.

Book TII:497-546 Her intention to kill her children.

Book TIII.VIII:1-42 Her chariot drawn by dragons.

Book TIII. IX:1-34 The myth of the Argo at Tomis, and Medea’s dismemberment of her brother Absyrtus.

Book EIII.III:1-108 Caused by Amor to fall in love with Jason.

Medusa, Gorgo

One of the three Gorgons, daughter of Phorcys the wise old man of the sea. She is represented in the sky by part of the constellation Perseus, who holds her decapitated head. Athene turned her into a monster because she was raped by Neptune in Athene’s temple. The sight of her face turned the onlooker to stone. She was killed by Perseus, who used his shield as a mirror. Her head decorated Athene’s aegis breastplate.

Book TIV.VII:1-26 Ovid sceptically lists the ‘unbelievable’ myths that he would have to believe in first before he could believe in this friends disloyalty.

Book EI.II:1-52 Ibis:541-596 Her power to transform those she looked at to stone.

Book EIII.1:105-166 Her snaky locks.

Book EIV.VIII:49-90 Pegasus, born of Medusa.

Ibis:413-464 Medusa had various cousins, including the Harpies.


Ibis:465-540 The son of Astacus, the Theban. He helped defend Thebes in the War of the Seven, and was killed by Tydeus who ate his brains.


A river in Pontus or Sarmatia.

Book EIV.X:35-84 A river running into the Black Sea.


Gaius (or Cilnius) Melissus, a freedman of Maecenas, grammarian, poet and librarian. He wrote Trabeatae, comedies of Roman manners among the Equestrian order, developing an Augustan form of the old Togatae. He was a protégé of Maecenas and organised the library in the Portico of Octavia for Augustus. He compiled jokebooks in old age.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 A poet in Ovid’s list of his lesser contemporaries.


Gaius Memmius, governor of Bithynia in 57BC, praetor 58. Lucretius dedicated the De Rerum Natura to him as patron. Catullus travelled to Bithynia with him in 57 and is none too complimentary about the corruption of his ‘court’. He was an orator and himself a poet. He married the dictator Sulla’s daughter, Fausta. Convicted of bribery he went into exile at Mytilene in 54.

Book TII:421-470 His erotic verse.


The son of Tithonus and Aurora, he fought for Troy in the Trojan War with Greece to support his uncle Priam. He was King of Ethiopia, and traditionally was of a black pigmentation. He killed Antilochus in the war, and was himself killed in turn by Achilles, but his mother Aurora, the Dawn, begged Jupiter for funeral honours, and he created the warring flock of birds, the Memnonides, from his ashes. Aurora’s tears for him are the morning dew. See Metamorphoses Book XIII:576

Book EI.IV:1-58 The son of Aurora, the Dawn.

Book EIII.III:1-108 Black-skinned.


The Athenian playwright (c341-c290BC). The most celebrated dramatist of the New Comedy he wrote on romantic and domestic themes. His single surviving complete play is the Dyscolus, recovered from an Egyptian papyrus in 1958, but many of his plays are known in adaptations by the Roman dramatists Terence and Plautus.

Book TII:361-420 His plays contained love scenes but were basically moral with endings involving marriage.


The messenger god, Hermes, son of Jupiter and the Pleiad Maia, the daughter of Atlas. He is therefore called Atlantiades. His birthplace was Mount Cyllene, and he is therefore called Cyllenius. He has winged feet, and a winged cap, carries a scimitar, and has a magic wand, the caduceus, with twin snakes twined around it, that brings sleep and healing. The caduceus is the symbol of medicine. (See Botticelli’s painting Primavera.)

Ibis:209-250 In astrology a beneficent planet of mind and communication.


King of Ethiopia, husband of Clymene. Putative father of Phaethon.

Book TIII.IV:1-46 Putative father of Phaethon, and his sisters.


A Graeco-Thracian town on the west coast of the Black Sea, south of Tomis, and about half way between Tomis and Byzantium, at the foot of the Haemus Range, on the frontier of Roman Moesia. Modern Nesebur.

Book TI.X:1-50 On the Minerva’s course.


Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus the elder son of Mesalla Corvinus, born 36BC, consul 3BC, legate of Illyricum in 6AD. He served under Tiberius in the Pannonian campaign of 6-9AD. A talented orator known for his extreme flattery of AugustusCotta was his younger brother. On Tiberius’s accession he embraced the new regime, proposing a gold statue of the new Emperor for the temple of Mars Ultor.

Book TIV.IV:1-42 This poem addressed to him. It is unlikely that he was a friend of Ovid, who probably addressed him as the son of his father, brother of his friend Cotta, and a man of influence with the regime.

Book EI.VII:1-70 A second poem addressed to him, playing on Ovid’s relationship with his father, Messalla.

Book EII.II:1-38 A third poem addressed to him, focusing on Messalinus’s close relationship with Augustus and Tiberius. He and his brother Cotta were perhaps Ovid’s best hope of leniency, but equally both were sensitive to the political difficulties of showing any favour to Ovid. I am reminded of the attitude to John Donne after his less crippling disgrace: the disgraced individual is an embarrassment, an object of suspicion, and a source of irritating pleas for remembrance and assistance.


Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus (64BC-8AD) distinguished soldier, statesman and supporter of the arts, a patron of Ovid and Tibullus, Lygdaus, Valgius Rufus and Aemilius Macer. Sulpicia was his niece. He switched sides adroitly during the Civil Wars fighting for Octavian at Actium in 31. He celebrated a triumph as proconsul of Gaul in 27, was city prefect in 25, Rome’s first overseer of aqueducts in 11, and nine years later proposed the title pater patriae: Father of the Country for Augustus. Noted for public works he was with Paullus Fabius Maximus the most influential of Ovid’s patrons. The father of Messalinus and his younger brother Cotta.

Book TIV.IV:1-42 A probable reference to him, assuming this poem is addressed to Messalinus.

Book EI.VII:1-70 Father of Messalinus, and patron of Ovid who wrote his funeral dirge. Ovid stresses the relationship.

Book EII.II:75-126 Ovid again stresses his past relationship with Messalla.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 Father of Cotta.


Ibis:413-464 The daughter of Erysichthon who could change her shape at will.


Ticidas’s mistress whom he called Perilla. Probably one of the Caecillii Metellii family. Possibly the wife of Publius Lentulus Spinther who divorced her in 45BC and had affairs with Cicero’s son-in-law Dolabella and Aesopus the actor’s son.

Book TII:421-470 Mentioned.


Book EIV.XIV:1-62 Metrodorus of Skepsis in Mysia: a philosopher and statesman who served Mithridates Eupator c. 100 BC. He was called the ‘Rome Hater’. He later transferred his allegiance to Tigranes of Armenia.


Or Mettius Fufetius, an Alban commander who was torn apart by horses for treachery in the war with Fidenae, on the orders of Tullus Hostilius.

Book TI.III:47-102 An analogy for Ovid’s feelings at separation.

Miletus, Milesian

The Ionian city south west of Samos and across the Latmian Gulf from the River Maeander. A commercial port from the Bronze Age, it helped colonise the Black Sea region (800-600BC). It was the home of leading philosophers including Thales, and Anximander.It declined after the Ionian Revolt in 494, and was crippled by the silting up of its harbour.

Book TI.X:1-50 Book TIII. IX:1-34 It founded a number of cities, in the Black Sea region, including Tomis.

Book TII:361-420 Aristides of Miletus.


The Roman name for Athene the goddess of the mind and women’s arts (also a goddess of war and the goddess of boundaries – see the Stele of Athena, bas-relief, Athens, Acropolis Museum). Originally an Italic goddess of handicrafts and arts, she was early identified with the virgin Pallas Athena.

Book TI.II:1-74 Book TI.V:45-84 She protected Ulysses.

Book TI.X:1-50 The ship Ovid embarked on took its name from Minerva’s painted helmet: the ship’s tutela, or protective emblem, being a figure of armed Minerva on the sternpost. Ovid intends to offer her the sacrifice of a lamb if the ship reaches Tomis safely (after he had disembarked at Samothrace). The ship’s name was fitting since Minerva protected the Argo, the first Greek ship to sail into the Black Sea, and curiously appropriate since Ovid was born during her festival, see below.

Book TIII. IX:1-34 The Argo was built under her protection.

Book TIV.X:1-40 Ovid was born during her festival, the Quinquatrus, on her traditional birthday March 20th.

Ibis:365-412 Ovid seems to refer to a cult of Thracian Minerva, though the detail sounds more like that of Diana at Ephesus, whose veil might not be lifted, and in the Chersonese, where she was the object of human sacrifice.

Ibis:597-644 The reference is possibly to the substitution of a phantom for Iphigenia at Aulis, but that is usually attributed to Artemis-Diana and not Athene-Minerva.


The son of Pasiphaë, wife of Minos, and the white bull from the sea. A man-headed bull, imprisoned in the Labyrinth (‘the place of the axe’) built by Daedalus at Cnossos, who was destroyed by Theseus. (See the sculpture and drawings of Michael Ayrton, and Picasso’s variations on the theme in the Vollard Suite)

Book TIV.VII:1-26 Ovid sceptically lists the ‘unbelievable’ myths that he would have to believe in first before he could believe in this friends disloyalty.

Ibis:365-412 Destroyed by Theseus.


The Minyae, a people named from their king Minyas who ruled Orchomenus in Boeotia. A name for the Argonauts since they sailed from Iolchos in Minyan territory.

Book TIII. IX:1-34 The Argonauts under Jason.


A Roman province covering roughly the area of modern Bulgaria and Serbia, taking its name from the Thracian tribe, the Moesi on the lower Danube. It was subdued fully under Tiberius, but remained a border province. A protective wall was built eastwards from Axiopolis to Tomis, to protect against incursion. It became more civilised after Ovid’s time, with Latin as a lingua franca.

Book EIV.IX:55-88 Flaccus maintained peace there.


Julius Montanus a friend of Tiberius. The elder Seneca considered him an excellent poet.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 A poet in Ovid’s list of his lesser contemporaries.


The ‘Melter’. A name for Vulcan, the smith, as a metal-worker.

(See Milton’s Paradise Lost Book I, as the architect of the towers of Heaven. ‘From Morn to Noon he fell...’). Identified with fire.

Book TI.II:1-74 He opposed the Trojans.

Muses, Musae

The nine Muses were the virgin daughters of Jupiter and Mnemosyne (Memory). They are the patronesses of the arts. Clio (History), Melpomene (Tragedy), Thalia (Comedy), Euterpe (Lyric Poetry), Terpsichore (Dance), Calliope (Epic Poetry), Erato (Love Poetry), Urania (Astronomy), and Polyhymnia (Sacred Song). Mount Helicon is hence called Virgineus. Their epithets are Aonides, and Thespiades.

Book TI.VII:1-40 Book TII.I:1 His past works (AmoresArs Amatoria etc) condemned him, such that he came to detest the Muses, poetry, temporarily.

Book TII:120-154 His art pleased the Muses.

Book TII:313-360 Book TII:471-496 Book TIV.I:1-48 Book TIV.X:1-40 Book TIV.X:93-132 Book TV.I:1-48 Book TV.IX:1-38 Book EI.I:1-36

Book EI.V:1-42 Book EI.V:1-42 Book EIII.IV:57-115

Book EIII.V:1-58 Book EIII.IX:1-56 Book EIV.II:1-50

Book EIV.XIII:1-50 Book EIV.XV:1-42 His own artistic skill, his personal ‘Muse’. There is perhaps a hint in TIV:I:1-48, and elsewhere here, that the helpful ‘Muse’ may have been a real ‘learned girl’, perhaps Julia the Younger herself, and so associated with his error. Again TV:1-48, and EIII:V:1-58 hint at the adulterous lightness (why was ‘my Muse’ ‘playful’, iocosa, in Ars Amatoria and why did she ‘play around’) of his ‘Muse’, and his ‘Muse’ as a cause of exile. EIII.IX:1-56 again has a slight hint of a real Muse and witness, behind the poetry.

Book TII:361-420 Anacreon’s ‘Muse’.

Book TIII.II:1-30 Book TIV.IX:1-32 Book EII.IX:39-80

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 The patronesses of poetry.

Book TIV.I:49-107 His companions, the Muses of Helicon. Perhaps also a suggestion of real ‘divine’ women who helped his journey, maybe the two Julias via their friends (Julia the Elder was still in custody but on the mainland). The ‘rest of the gods’ being also the rest of the Imperial family.

Book TV.VII:1-68 His Muse is not eager for applause, he hasn’t written for the theatre.

Book TV.XII:1-68 The Nine Sisters.

Book EII.IV:1-34 A play on the word: poetic work, the personal Muse, and a literary mistress.

Book EIII.VIII:1-24 The Muse of Scythia is a patron of war.

Ibis:1-40 His work harmless to others.

Book EIV.VIII:49-90 Germanicus a poet also. The suggestion that the Muse is associated with Jupiter, i.e. Tiberius now, in Germanicus’s mind may be an allusion to the fact that Germanicus’s marriage to Agrippina the Elder united the two branches of the Imperial family, those through Livia and Scribonia, as had Tiberius’s marriage to the elder Julia. Ovid is hinting again I think that the younger Julia, now Germanicus’s sister-in-law was his ‘Muse’.


The sculptor of Eleutherae, one of the greatest of the Greek artists (c. 450BC). His sculpted cattle were famous.

Book EIV.I:1-36 His sculptures of cattle. Augustus transferred a statue of a heifer from the Athenian Agora to the temple of Peace in Rome.


Ibis:311-364 The daughter of Cinyras, mother of Adonis, incestuously, by her father.

Ibis:465-540 Subject of a poem by Cinna.


Ibis:365-412 The charioteer of King Oenomaus, who traitorously caused the King’s chariot to crash, killing him and allowing Pelops to claim the king’s daughter Hippodameia. Pelops subsequently threw Myrtilus into the sea. He was set among the stars as the constellation of Auriga the Charioteer, and gave his name to the Myrtoan Sea that stretches from Euboea past Helene to the Aegean.


The people of the country of Mysia in Asia Minor containing the city of Pergamum.

Book EII.II:1-38 Telephus was their leader.


The water nymphs, demi-goddesses of the rivers, streams and fountains.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 Mentioned as a subject for verse in Ovid’s list of his lesser contemporaries.


Ovid, who always so names himself.

Book TI.VII:1-40 Distant from his friends.


Book TIII.XIII:1-28 The Genius, the spiritual counterpart of every man that watches over him, worshipped especially on the birthday. The birthday god.

Nemesis, Rhamnusia

The Goddess of retribution. She punishes mortal pride and arrogance (hubris) on behalf of the gods. Her shrine was at Rhamnous in Attica.

Book TV.VIII:1-38 She punished hubris.

Neptune, Poseidon

God of the sea, brother of Pluto and Jupiter. The trident is his emblem. (see Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawing of Neptune with four sea-horses, Royal Library, Windsor: See the Neptune Fountain by Bartolomeo Ammannati, Piazza della Signoria, Florence.) Identified with the Greek Poseidon.

Book TI.II:1-74 Book TI.V:45-84 Book TIII. XI:39-74 Pursued Ulysses (for his attack on the Cyclops)

Book EII.IX:1-38 The god of the sea, able to bring about calm waters.

Book EIII.VI:1-60 Caused Ulysses to be shipwrecked. Identified with Augustus.

Ibis:251-310 Neptune caused Ceyx to be drowned, and him and his wife Alcyone to be turned into birds, the halycons. Ceyx was son of Lucifer (Phosphorus, the Morning Star), Alcyone was the daughter of Aeolus, god of the winds. The significance of frater here is not clear to me. Athamas was Alcyone’s brother, as a son of Aeolus, and Ceyx was his brother-in-law (uxoris frater). Athamas too suffered extensively, his wife Ino being turned into the sea-mew, the sea-goddess Leucothea, who is mentioned in the next verses.


Ulysses, so called from Mount Neritus on Ithaca.

Book TI.V:45-84 Ovid compares his troubles to those of Ulysses.


Ibis:365-412 The Centaur killed by Hercules for carrying off Deianira. See Metamorphoses IX:89

Ibis:465-540 The fatal gift of the poisoned shirt steeped in Nessus’s blood, which contained the venom of the Hydra from Hercules’ arrow.


King of Pylos, son of Neleus. The oldest and wisest of the Greek leaders at Troy. He was a companion of Hercules in his youth, and held Messenia in the south-west of Greece. He entertained Telemachus at his palace in Pylos, in the Odyssey.

Book EI.IV:1-58 Book EII.VIII:37-76 His long life.

Book EII.IV:1-34 The father of Antilochus.


The river Nile and its god. The river was noted for its seasonal flooding in ancient times. (See the Hellenistic sculpture, ‘ The Nile’, in the Vatican, from the Temple of Isis in the Campus Martius, Rome)

Book TI.II:75-110 The region was a tourist attraction for the Romans.


The daughter of the Phrygian king Tantalus, and Dione one of the Pleiades, daughters of Atlas. The wife of Amphion, king of Thebes. She rejected Latona and boasted rashly about her fourteen children. Her seven sons were killed by Apollo and Diana, the children of Latona (Leto), and her husband commited suicide. Still unrepentant, her daughters were also killed, and she was turned to stone and set on top of a mountain in her native country of Lydia where she weeps eternally. (A natural stone feature exists above the valley of the Hermus, on Mount Sipylus, which weeps when the sun strikes its winter cap of snow – See Freya Stark ‘Rome on the Euphrates’ p9. Pausanias also lived nearby at one time, and saw the rock.) See Metamorphoses Book VI:146

Book TV.I:49-80 Book TV.XII:1-68 Her children killed by Apollo and Diana.

Book EI.II:1-52 Happy in becoming senseless stone.

Ibis:541-596 Turned to stone.


Book EIV.XIII:1-50 The most beautiful of the Greek soldiers at Troy (after Achilles). King of the island of Syme, and a former suitor of Helen.


The son of Hyrtacus. He and Euryalus, followers of Aeneas were noted for their friendship. They died together after entering Turnus’s camp and killing Rhamnes the Rutulian who was sleeping, and his followers, see Virgil’s Aeneid (IX:176).

Book TI.V:1-44 Book TI. IX:1-66 An example of true friendship.

Ibis:597-644 Died with his friend, after killing the sleeping Rhamnes.


Ibis:311-364 The King of Megara, besieged by Minos. He had a purple lock of hair on his head, on which his life, and the safety of his kingdom, depended. His daughter was Scylla. Scylla cut off the sacred lock and betrayed the city.


The south wind, that brings rain.

Book TI.II:1-74 A fierce Aegean wind blowing Ovid’s words away.

The warring of the winds.

Book EII.I:68 Book EIV.X:35-84 The south wind from distant Italy.


Book EI.II:53-100 The goddess of Night.

Numa (1)

Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome (trad. 715-673BC). He searched for knowledge. Having been instructed by Pythagoras (a fable), he returned to Latium and ruled there, teaching the arts of peace. His wife was Egeria, the nymph.

Book TIII.I:1-46 His palace became the residence of the Pontifex Maximus.

Book EIII.II:1-110 Cotta’s maternal line stretches back to him, perhaps through the Calpurnian clan.

Book EIII.III:1-108 A pupil of Pythagoras (in myth).

Numa (2)

An Augustan poet, otherwise unknown.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 A poet in Ovid’s list of his lesser contemporaries.


Ibis:311-364 The daughter of Epopeus king of Lesbos who unknowingly slept with her father. She fled to the woods and was changed by Minerva to her sacred bird the Little Owl, often depicted on ancient Athenian coins. See Metamorphoses II:566


A port on the Thracian coast of the Black Sea about eighty miles south of Tomis. Now Varna.

Book TI.X:1-50 On the Minerva’s course.

Odrysii, Odrysae

Thracian tribe, friendly to Rome, who spread as far as the Danube delta. Marcus Primus governor of Macedonia (25-24BC) was accused of making war on them and in his defence claimed Augustus had ordered it.

Book EI.VIII:1-70 Aegisos was their city, captured by the Getae.


Ibis:465-540 The Thracian king, father of Orpheus by Calliope the Muse.


A city in Euboea. Ruled by King Eurytus who offered his daughter Iole to whoever won an archery contest, but he refused Hercules the prize. Hercules killed his eldest son Iphitus, and fell in love with Iole. He had to appease Jove for this breach of his role as a guest.

Book EIV.VIII:49-90 Hercules captured it.


King of Thebes, who unwittingly killed his father and married his mother. See Sophocles great trilogy The Theban Plays.

Book TI.I:70-128 A parricide.

Ibis:251-310 He blinded himself, and was led around by his daughter Antigone.


Ibis:365-412 King of Pisa in Elis, son of Ares and the father of Hippodameia. He caused her suitors to race against him in their chariots, killing the losers. He was eventually killed by Pelops.


The period of five years covering successive Games at Olympia, celebrated every fifth year inclusive from 776BC, and therefore a useful measure of time. 

Book EIV.VI:1-50 Ovid is starting his sixth year in Tomis.


A famous Phrygian flute-player who learned his art from Marsyas.

Book EIII.III:1-108 A disciple of Marsyas.


Ibis:465-540 The son of Lycurgus devoured by a serpent. The Nemean games were founded in his memory.


The goddess of agricultural abundance, goddess of plenty.

Book TII.I:1 Identifed with Cybele by the Romans, who wore a turreted crown. Ovid may refer to Augustus’s re-dedication of her temple on the Palatine after it was destroyed by fire and re-built in 3AD.


The capital of the Opuntian Locrians.

Book EI.III:49-94 The birthplace of Patroclus.


The only son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, brother of ElectraIphigenia and Chrysothemis. Pylades was his faithful friend. He avenged the murder of his father by killing Clytmenestra and her lover Aegisthus. He brought back his sister Iphigenia from the Tauric Chersonese, and the image of Artemis from her temple there to Athens, or in Roman myth to Aricia. The rites of the sanctuary there, at Nemi, are the starting point for Frazer’s ‘The Golden Bough’ (see Chapter I et seq.)

Book TI.V:1-44 Book TI. IX:1-66 Book EII.III:1-48 His friendship with Pylades stressed. He was pursued by the Furies for the murder of his mother Clytemnestra.

Book TII:361-420 Famous because of Clytemnestra’s adultery and the consequent events.

Book TIV.IV:43-88 Book EIII.II:1-110 He visited the Crimea, and brought Iphigenia home.

Book TV.IV:1-50 A paragon of friendship.

Book TV.VI:1-46 Book EIII.II:1-110 Pylades’ loyalty to him.

Book EI.II:53-100 The Oresteian goddess is Artemis-Diana.

Ibis:311-364 Maddened by the Furies.

Ibis:465-540 There seems to be a variant myth here of Clytemnestra’s dream of a serpent, interpreted as Orestes, who killed her and Aegisthus.


The mythical musician of Thrace, son of Oeagrus and Calliope the Muse. His lyre, given to him by Apollo, and invented by Hermes-Mercury, is the constellation Lyra containing the star Vega. (See John William Waterhouse’s painting – Nymphs finding the head of Orpheus – Private Collection, and Gustave Moreau’s painting – Orpheus – in the Gustave Moreau Museum, Paris: See Peter Vischer the Younger’s Bronze relief – Orpheus and Eurydice – Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg: and the bas-relief – Hermes, Eurydice and Orpheus – a copy of a votive stele attributed to Callimachus or the school of Phidias, Naples, National Archaeological Museum: Note also Rilke’s - Sonnets to Orpheus – and his Poem - Orpheus, Eurydice and Hermes.) See Ovid’s Metamorphoses Books X and XI. He summoned Hymen to his wedding with Eurydice. After she was stung by a snake and died he travelled to Hades, to ask for her life to be renewed. Granted it, on condition he does not look back at her till she reaches the upper world, he faltered, and she was lost. He mourned her, and turned from the love of women to that of young men. He was killed by the Maenads of Thrace and dismembered, his head and lyre floating down the river Hebrus to the sea, being washed to Lesbos. (This head had powers of prophetic utterance) His ghost sank to the Fields of the Blessed where he was reunited with Eurydice. He taught Midas and Eumolpus the Bacchic rites.

Book TIV.I:1-48 He drew the trees and rocks to his singing.

Book EII.IX:39-80 The great poet of Thrace.

Book EIII.III:1-108 He taught Eumolpus the mysteries.

Ibis:465-540 Eurydice stung by the snake.

Ibis:597-644 Killed by the Bacchantes.


A mountain in Thessaly in Northern Greece.

Book EII.II:1-38 The Giants piled Pelion on Ossa to attack the heavens. Ovid implies he never thought to attack Augustus.

Ibis:251-310 Thessalus apparently died there.


The author, Publius Ovidius Naso, born March 20th 43BC, at Sulmo (Sulmona), ninety miles or so from Rome.

His Crime, ‘Carmen et error’: references:

Book TI.I:1-68 Book TIV.VIII:1-52 His life is a gift of Augustus’s, the god, who has mitigated his punishment. The implication is that Ovid’s error might have been considered a capital offence. His case is poor, and unlikely to be arguable in a court of law. He still can’t resist a subtle double entendre though, waiting for leniency, ‘lenito Caesare’, from a Caesar who has softened, or equally a more lenient Caesar to come! He acknowledges that his verse (AmoresArs Amatoria etc) has hurt him, and contributed to his exile.

Book TI.I:70-128 Book TI. IX:1-66 Book TII.I:1The three books of Ars Amatoria again referred to, as texts to be hidden, and texts that have injured him. Ovid maintains that his own life and conduct were other than that described in the Ars, and that they were written in a light vein, as exercises in wit.

Book TI.II:1-74 Book TI.II:75-110 Book TI.III:1-46 Book TIII.I:47-82 Book TIII. XI:1-38 Book TIV.I:1-48 Book TIV.IV:1-42

Book TIV.X:41-92 Book EI.VII:1-70 Book EII.II:1-38 His error is a fault (culpa) rather than a crime (scelus) and not ultimately judged by Augustus to merit death. He accepts guilt but denies criminal intent (facinus). An error has misled him. He was stupid (stultus) not wicked (sceleratus). He stresses his loyalty to ‘Caesar and the Caesars’ who would include TiberiusDrusus (Tiberius’s son by Vipsania), and Germanicus. Gaius and Lucius (Julia the Elder’s sons by Tiberius) were already dead (4AD and2AD), Agrippa Posthumus (Julia the Elder’s son by Agrippa) was in exile. He characterises himself as unwise and cowardly (non sapiens, timidus) and this suggests foolishness in having become involved in something, and cowardice in not reporting it.

Book TI.II:75-110 He is aware, and presumably Augustus may have indicated this to him, that the location of Tomis for his exile is part of his punishment. The ultra-civilised poet to be sent to the edge of civilisation to see how the Empire was maintained and expanded.

Book TI.V:1-44 Ovid denies fostering any armed opposition to Augustus and claims his error involved naivety, rather than disloyalty.

Book TI.VII:1-40 Book TV.II:45-79 Book TV.IV:1-50

Book TV.XI:1-30 He describes himself as a relegatus (relegated, banished) rather than an exul (exile). Relegatio was milder than exilium, in that property was not confiscated and civic rights were retained. Ovid’s friends were not formally tainted by association, his name was allowed to be mentioned, he could correspond, and publish, he was however confined to Tomis, whereas an exul oftenmerely needed to keep a certain distance from Rome.

Book TII.I:1 Tristia II is in the form of a suasoria or formal argument concerning the charge that Ars Amatoria etc. were corrupting, with an exordium to placate the judge, a propositio outlining the brief, and a tractatio or treatment expounding the case, consisting in turn of a probatio or proof by evidence, and epilogus or first conclusion asking for mitigation, a refutatio rebutting the charge, and a second epilogus asking for mercy.

Book TII:77-120 Ovid claims his ‘error’ was to have seen something, unwittingly. The result was to be punished for that mischance, like Actaeon. He does not suggest that he was punished for failing to tell the authorities about it, but for the mere act of being a witness to it.

Book TII:120-154 He explains that he was upbraded by Augustus personally, his life was spared, he was not brought before Senate or law-court, and was a relegatus, with place of exile specified but retaining his rights and possessions, particularly important for his wife.

Book TII:207-252 The ‘carmen et error’ passage. The specific charge of promoting adultery through the poem (Ars Amatoria) suggests that adulterous behaviour may also have been involved in the error. (This author favours the view that Ovid inadvertently witnessed an unacceptable marriage or a related ceremony, involving the younger Julia and a lover, perhaps Decimus Iunius Silanus, with whom she had been accused of committing adultery while her husband Lucius Aemilius Paullus was alive. His presence would have been regarded by Augustus as a seal of approval, by the ‘doctor of adultery’, to an affair that potentially threatened the future succession to the Imperial throne, remembering the many candidates who had died, and the limited number of possible heirs. Julia was part of the anti-Tiberius faction. ) Ovid claims his book was written to exclude virtuous women and he ‘quotes’ Ars Amatoria I:31-34, but with the sneaky amendment of ‘what is lawful’ for ‘safe love’.

Book TII:253-312 He defends the Ars Amatoria again as written for courtesans and not for noblewomen, and uses the classic defence of eroticism and pornography that it does not corrupt, but attracts the already corrupted, and that everything prompts lewd thoughts in a lewd mind. (Note Euripides, in the Bacchae: ‘In the Bacchic ritual as elsewhere a woman will be safe from corruption if her mind is chaste.’)

Book TIII.I:47-82 His books banned from the libraries.

Book TIII.V:1-56 A key statement again regarding the nature of his offence, that is was something seen, that he had not spoken inadvisedly, that he witnessed a crimen (an ‘offence’ rather than a ‘crime’, i.e. something that offended Augustus rather than something against the law, fine shades of difference?) but that one of his offences was an error.

Book TIII.VI:1-38 Ovid says that what led up to the error which ruined him was a ‘secret’ and that suggests a more conspiratorial involvement than he would have us believe elsewhere. He repeats that the cause of his ruin was an error, that is is a long tale to tell, and not a safe one (presumably others were involved who were not revealed) and that he witnessed a ‘fatal’ evil. The word used funestus might link to its use (as an oxymoron) in Heroides XII:140 where Medea refers to marriage. It would be like Ovid to provide a subtle reference via Medea, the Black Sea witch of tragedy, to a clandestine marriage he had witnessed, a fateful and fatal one for those involved.

Book TIV.IV:43-88 In denying any facinus, that is deed, act or crime, and any consilium, that is plan or stratagem, in his peccatum, sin, Ovid seems to preclude his error having been any kind of active participation in a plot against Augustus or Tiberius. That is consistent with his claim to have seen something whose significance (in a political sense?) escaped him.

Book TIV.IX:1-32 Ovid again stresses that his rights as a citizen remain to him. Is there a hint here in modo sit sospesif only he (Augustus) is safe/lives/is favourable like an omen, that Ovid was hopeful of Augustus relenting, but not of Tiberius, who was by now his obvious successor? Was the error (for example if it concerned Julia the Younger’s remarrying and bearing a rival successor) specifically harmful to Tiberius’s status as successor, and therefore to Augustus’s wishes for that succession?

Book TIV.X:93-132 A very suggestive and intriguing comment that the cause of his exile was only too well known, and was triggered by the wickedness of friends’ and the harm done him by servants. It is possible that while Julia the Younger’s adultery was given as the ostensible reason for her banishment, and Ovid was perhaps tarnished by association, so that the cause of his exile was known to all, as was hers (and Ars Amatoria was dragged into it as a morally corrupting text), he may have witnessed a clandestine marriage which legitimised the child she was carrying, and would have offered another heir to the throne of Scribonia’s and not Livia’s line, and thus a threat to Tiberius.  This comment suggests that his presence (at a marriage?) might have been betrayed by friends and servants. (the servants perhaps under harsh questioning?).

Book TV.VIII:1-38 Ovid goes on hoping for remission of his sentence, based on the nature of his error, and Augustus’s reputation for being merciful to his enemies.

Book EI.II:53-100 A reiteration of the nature of his offence, judged by Augustus not to merit the death penalty.

Book EI.VI:1-54 A repetition again that the history of his offence is long and not safe to write about, that it is a fault and not a crime, but that perhaps every fault involving the gods is a crime.

Book EII.II:39-74 Ovid urges himself to silence over the details of the matter, wishing to bury knowledge of his ruin himself.

Book EII.III:1-48 Ovid claims that Cotta accepted he had only made a mistake and not committed a crime. Cotta initially and instinctively sided with Augustus, but still gave Ovid some support.

Book EII.VII:47-84 Ovid was absent when the blow fell. This is interesting coupled with his last meeting with Cotta on Elba.

Book EII.IX:39-80 The double offence of the Ars Amatoria and something else that is concealed by the banning of the book, not something illegal but something even weightier, and Augustus was lenient. The implication is that the offence was a combination of the morally dubious and the politically disloyal, rather than an explicit criminal action against Augustus.

Book EIII.III:1-108 Ovid defends the Ars Amatoria from the charge of being a corrupting influence, implies that the error was more serious a crime than the banned book, that the error should not be explained, and that the penalty was appropriate.

Dating of the Poems: references

Book TI.IV:1-28 Ovid is ploughing the Adriatic late in the winter months on his way into exile (winter of 8-early 9AD).

Book TI.XI:1-44 Tristia I was written on the journey. He was in the Adriatic in December (8AD) and therefore was in Tomis early the following year (9AD).

Book TII:155-206 Book TII:207-252 Ovid is anticipating victory in Pannonia. Tiberius and Germanicus defeated the Dalmatian and Pannonian rebels in the second Illyrian War of summer AD9. Tristia II therefore dates to this year.

Book TIII. XII:1-54 Ovid is anticipating victory in Germany after the defeat of Varus, in late AD9 and the transfer of Tiberius there. Tristia III is therefore dated to AD9-10.

 Book TIII.XIII:1-28 Ovid’s Birthday in Tomis. He was 52 years old in the spring of AD10, see previous note. (March 20th, having been born in 43BC).

Book TIV.II:1-74 Tiberius is still campaigning in Germany, with Germanicus and Drusus. Tristia IV dates to AD10-11.

Book TIV.VI:1-50 Ovid has spent two full summers away from Rome, so we are in the autumn of AD10.

Book TIV.VII:1-26 The Sun is in Pisces, in February/March of AD11. The second winter of exile (in Tomis) is completed. (Ignoring the winter of AD9 when he was still travelling, and given the preceding poem that covers two full summers also.).

Book TIV.VIII:1-52 Book TIV.X:93-132 He refers to his age, over fifty.

Book TV.III:1-58 Ovid is celebrating the Liberalia, the feast of Bacchus, on March 17th, in the spring of AD12.

Book TV.X:1-53 The spring of AD12 in Tomis after his third winter.

Book EI.II:1-52 Ovid is in Tomis for the fourth winter, that of AD12/13.

Book EI.VIII:1-70 Written in the late autumn of AD12, when the Pleiades have risen. This suggests the poems of Ex Ponto may not be in strict chronological order.

Book EII.I:68 Book EIII.III:1-108 Ovid hears of Tiberius’s Pannonian triumph of October AD12, so we are in late 12 or more likely early AD13.

Book EIV.IV:1-50 After the July AD13 elections to office when Pompey’s consulship of AD14 was known. Presumably we are in the late summer of


Book EIV.V:1-46 Pompey is already consul, so we are in AD14, but before Augustus’ death in the August of that year.

Book EIV.VI:1-50 Book EIV.XIII:1-50 Augustus died on the 19th August AD14 and was deified on the 17th September. We are in Ovid’s sixth year in Tomis, AD14, so it is late autumn, early winter.

Book EIV.IX:1-54 Ovid anticipates Graecinus’s consulship. The letter seems intended to reach him by May AD16 when he took office, and therefore allowing for potential delays may have been written early that year.

Book EIV.X:1-34 Written in the sixth summer, early autumn, i.e. AD14.

Friends and Patrons: references

Book TI.III:1-46 Ovid’s faithful friends were probably BrutusAtticusCelsus and Carus, of whom little is known.

Book TIII.V:1-56 This and the previous poem probably addressed to ‘Carus’ indicate the loyalty and strength of friendship provided by at least this friend.

Book TIII.XIV:1-52 This poem is probably addressed to Gaius Julius Hyginus director of the Palatine library, a patron of poets, and friend of Ovid’s.

Self and Family: references

Book TI.III:1-46 Ovid’s third wife (possibly Fabia). His daughter was his only child, his daughter by his second wife. She was married to a senator Cornelius Fidus and went to Africa with him, a senatorial province. Ovid’s house was situated near the Capitoline Hill.

Book TI.VI:1-36 Ovid’s third wife had some acquaintance with Livia, presumably through the household of Paullus Fabius Maximus, and his wife Marcia. She may have been a relative of the Fabian house, and editors have dubbed her Fabia (though on scant evidence).

Book TI.V:45-84 He suggests that his physique was relatively slight and delicate.

Book TII:77-120 Book EIII.V:1-58 Augustus preserved the custom of granting a horse to member of the equestrian order, and reviewed them, including Ovid, at an annual parade (the equitum transvectio of the equites Romani wearing their special dress, the trabea). An unworthy member could be deprived of his horse. Ovid was a member of the centumviral court, mostly dealing with property cases and probate. As an eques of good standing he was also a private arbiter.

Book TIII.IV:1-46 Another tribute by Ovid to his wife’s love and her faithfulness to him in his adversity.

Book TIV.I:49-107 He avoided military matters in his youth, and now has to help defend Tomis as an elderly man.

Book TIV.VII:1-26 Ovid sceptically lists the ‘unbelievable’ myths that he would have to believe in first before he could believe in this friends disloyalty. It suggests that the Metamorphoses are retold ‘stories’, and that Ovid gives many or all of them little or no factual credence. That also undermines his exaltation of the Caesars as gods towards the end of Book XV.

Book TIV.X:1-40 Ovid’s autobiography begins. He was born on the second day of the festival of Minerva, Goddess of the Mind, the Quinquatrus (March 19-23), on the first of the days (March 20th) when armed combats took place. The year was 43BC when both the Consuls, namely Aulus Hirtius and Gaius Vibius Pansa, died in defeating Mark Antony at Mutina. Ovid mentions his elder brother born on the same day a year earlier who died at age twenty. Ovid was drawn to poetry, and held minor office on one of the boards of tresviri (monetales, overseeing the public mint, or capitales, the prisons and executions)but held back from public office in the Senate. He had adopted the tunica laticlavia for the sons of senators and equites destined for public office, but reverted to the angusticlavia of a plain equites.

Book TIV.X:41-92 Ovid’s autobiography continues. He mentions the poets in his circle of friends, his poems to Corinna, his susceptible heart but blameless life, his three marriages, his daughter by his second marriage, see above, and the deaths of his parents.

Book EIII.VII:1-40 Resignation is creeping over him by this stage of his exile (AD13).

His Other Works: references

Book TI.I:70-128 Book TI.VII:1-40 Book TII:43-76 Book TII:547-578 The fifteen books of the Metamorphoses, ‘saved’ from his ruin. Ovid says he burnt his copy of the work because it represented ‘poetry’ which had condemned him, and/or because it was not completely finished. It survived as he knew in other copies though. Polite references to Augustus will be found in Metamorphoses Book XV:857 et al, but Jupiter and Juno are a gentle parody of Augustus and Livia throughout the work and so Ovid is still being a little cheeky.

Book TI.XI:1-44 A remembrance of his writing in his Roman garden, or on his familiar couch.

Book TII:43-76 Book TII:313-360 Ovid may have intended to write a Gigantomachia, the story of the war between the gods and the giants. If so written it might not have helped his case! He had apparently started, and then abandoned it.

Book TII:547-578 The six surviving books of the Fasti, covering six months of the Roman year, are mentioned here, originally dedicated to Augustus, and partially revised in AD14, at Augustus’s death, to re-dedicate the work to Germanicus. I don’t think the Latin here indicates that a second set of six was drafted for the other months of the year. Six books only, in six rolls, seems clear enough. And the work was broken off, as he states. The tragedy is the lost Medea.

Book TIII.VII:1-54 Compare the last verses of the Metamorphoses.

Book TIII.VIII:1-42 Compare Amores III.6 for a similar wish, concerning both Medea’s and Triptolemus’s (lent him by Ceres) chariots. Ovid uses myths that refer to the Black Sea region in both cases.

Book TIII.XIV:1-52 He makes a plea for his books to be kept in the public library. He mentions the baned Ars Amatoria, the Metamorphoses, and the Tristia itself, plus his considering writing in Getic and corrupting his Latin.

Book TIV.X:93-132 He uses the formula here of the closing lines of the Metamorphoses to assert his immortality.

Book TV.VII:1-68 He denies having written anything for the theatre, implying that someone has adapted his verses for the stage.

 Book TV.XII:1-68 He wishes the Ars Amatoria had been thrown into the fire since it has ruined its author.

Life At Tomis

Book TI.X:1-50 He travelled to Tomis by way of the Adratic and the Corinthian Gulf, crossing the Isthmus to reach Cenchreae, the harbour of Corinth on the Saronic Gulf. There he took ship (the Minerva?) to Samothrace in the northern Aegean. The ship continued to Tomis, but he took another ship to Tempyra on the Thracian coast, and then finished the journey to Tomis by land.

Book TV.VII:1-68 A description of life in Tomis among the barbarians. Ovid has learned to speak Sarmatian and his Latin is growing rusty. He stresses the savagery of the people whose Greek admixture is drowned by the Getic semi-nomadic and warlike culture.

Book TV.X:1-53 Ovid portrays the local people as barbaric savages who have lost the culture of the original Greek colony, and apply rough justice. They wear Persian trousers, dress in sheepskins, are unable to understand Latin, and are malicious in their speech about Ovid himself. Not a picture likely to arouse their enthusiasm for him if the contents got back to them, as we shall see later!