Ovid: Poems From Exile - Index L-O

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 second reference is to Iasion, son of Maia’s sister Elektra, whom, according to one tradition, Zeus killed with a flash of lightning when he slept with Demeter. (See: Hom. Od. v. 125, &c.; Hes. Theog. 969, &c.; Apollod. l. c.; Diod. v. 49, 77; Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 29; Conon, Narrat. 21.)


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 including many of the Ethiopians, or Cephenes after her death when Perseus wielded her decapitated head.

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. Alternatively it may refer to Ajax the Lesser’s rape of Cassandra in Athene’s temple during the sack of Troy which caused Athene to delay the Greek’s return voyage.


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. Orestes is killed by a snake according to Apollodorus.


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!