Ovid: Poems From Exile - Index P-Z


An Italian people whose capital, Sulmo, was Ovid’s birthplace.

Book EI.VIII:1-70 The countryside there.

Book EIV.XIV:1-62 His homeland.

Paeones, Pannonia

The Pannonians, a group of Illyrian tribes south and west of the bend of the Danube, organised as a province c. 10AD covering roughly the area between Vienna and Belgrade.

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 Ovid uses the term Paeonian (Macedonian) loosely to describe the Pannonians further towards the Danube estuary.


A city of Lucania in Italy. The site is near modern Agropoli on the Bay of Salerno, a ruin in a wilderness, with Doric temples that surpassed those of Athens. Originally called Poseidonia, the city of Neptune, it was founded by Greeks from Sybaris in the 6th c. BC. It became Paestum when it passed into the hands of the Lucanians in the 4th century. It was taken by the Romans in 273BC. In antiquity it was famous for its roses, which flowered twice a year, and its violets. Malaria eventually drove away its population.

Book EII.IV:1-34 Its roses.


Ibis:597-644 The son of Nauplius whom Ulysses’ wrongfully had stoned to death, after making it appear that he had been a traitor and received enemy gold.

Palatine, Palatium

The most important of Rome’s seven hills and traditionally the site of the earliest settlements adjacent to the Tiber, south-east of the Capitoline and north of the Aventine. It became a highly fashionable residential area, and Augustus lived there in a house that had belonged to the orator Quintus Hortensius. Other residents included Cicero and Mark Antony.

Book TIII.I:1-46 The Porta Mogunia was the way to the Palatine Hill from the Via Sacra.

Book TIV.II:1-74 Book EII.VIII:1-36 The site of Augustus’s palace, decked with garlands for a triumph.


The sons of Jupiter and the nymph Thalia were worshipped in Sicily at Palica, between Syracuse and Enna, where a temple and two lakes were sacred to them. Dis passed through the sulphurous swamps there while abducting Proserpine. The modern Lago di Naftia between Catania and Caltagirone

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


Aeneas’s helmsman who fell into the sea while asleep and drowned. See Virgil’s Aeneid.

Book TV.VI:1-46 A metaphor for abandoning any project.

Ibis:541-596 Drowned in sight of land according to Ovid.

Pallas, Minerva

See Athene

Book TI.II:1-74 Hostile to the Trojans.

Book TI.X:1-50 Minerva.

Book TII:253-312 She raised Erichthonius.

Book TIII.I:1-46 Her sacred image at Troy, which fell from the sky, was the Palladium. Stolen by Ulysses and Diomede, it guaranteed the safety of Troy while the Trojans possessed it. Alternatively, it was eventually taken to Rome by Aeneas, and housed in the Temple of Vesta.

Book TIII.XIV:1-52 Pallas was born from the head of Zeus, and released into the world by a blow from Haephaestus’s axe.

Book TIV.V:1-34 The olive and its oil were sacred to her.

Book EI.IV:1-58 Minerva protected the Argo.

Book EIII.VIII:1-24 Goddess of the domestic arts, for example spinning wool.

Ibis:251-310 She protected the Argo, and her sacred dove was sent ahead through the clashing rocks to guide the ship.


A king of Athens, father of Procne and Philomela. He married Procne to Tereus, king of Thrace.

Book EI.III:1-48 His daughters turned into birds.


The Fates.

Book TV.III:1-58 Ovid speculates that a dark Fate was present at his birth.

Book EIII.VII:1-40 He is fated to die in exile.


See Lycaon.

Book TII:155-206 A term for Callisto the Arcadian.


A river in eastern Bithynia, flowing into the Pontus.

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

Parthus, Parthian

Roughly, Persian. The eastern boundary of the Empire, and a source of trouble during Augustus’s reign.

Book TII:207-252 Ovid recalls the offer of the return of Roman standards captured by the Persians from Crassus at Carrhae (53BC) and from others in 40 and 36. The offer was made by a nervous Phraates IV of Parthia after Armenia had become a friendly state to Rome in 20BC under Tigranes. The capture of the standards was not too clever a subject for Ovid to raise.


The daughter of the Sun and the nymph Crete (Perseis). She was the wife of King Minos of Crete and mother of Phaedra and Ariadne.

She was inspired, by Poseidon, with a mad passion for a white bull from the sea, and Daedalus built for her a wooden frame in the form of a cow, to entice it. From the union she produced the Minotaur, Asterion, with a bull’s head and a man’s body.

Ibis:41-104 Named as a source of an accursed race.


An Augustan poet.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 A poet in Ovid’s list of his lesser contemporaries. Note that the text is corrupt at this point. Passer, a poet, is assumed.


The son of Menoetius, and grandson of Actor. Achilles’ beloved friend whose death, at the hands of Hector, caused Achilles to re-enter the fight against the Trojans. See Iliad Book 16.

Book TI. IX:1-66 His loyalty to Achilles stressed.

Book TV.IV:1-50 Book EII.III:1-48 A paragon of friendship. Called Menoetiades from his father.

Book EI.III:49-94 A fugitive when young he found refuge with Achilles’ father Peleus, after killing Cleitonymus, son of Amphidamas.


See Albinovanus.

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


The winged horse, created by Neptune’s union with Medusa and sprung from her head when Perseus decapitated her. At the same time his brother Chrysaor the warrior was created. He is represented in the sky by the constellation Pegasus.The sacred fountain of Hippocrene on Mount Helicon, haunt of the Muses, sprang from under his hoof. Pegasus was tamed byBellerephon.

Book TIII.VII:1-54 Hippocrene.

Book EIV.VII:1-54 His swiftness.

Book EIV.VIII:49-90 Born of Medusa. Hippocrene created by him.


The Greeks. Originally an ancient Greek people (Pelasgi) and their king Pelasgus, son of Phoroneus the brother of Io. He was the brother of Agenor and Iasus.

Book TII:361-420 The Greeks at Troy.

Ibis:465-540 Possibly Pelasgus is intended here.


The half-brother of Aeson whom he drove from the throne of Iolchos in Thessaly. He sent Aeson’s son Jason in search of the Golden Fleece. Medea pretended to rejuvenate him but instead employed his daughters to help destroy him.

Book TV.V:27-64 His daughter Alcestis.

Book EI.IV:1-58 He sent Jason to Colchis.

Ibis:413-464 Failed rejuvenation.


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.


The son of Tantalus, and brother of Niobe. He was cut in pieces and served to the gods at a banquet by his father to test their divinity. Ceres-Demeter, mourning for Persephone, did not perceive the wickedness and ate a piece of the shoulder. The gods gave him life again and an ivory shoulder. He gave his name to the Peloponnese. He was a famous horseman and charioteer. Later he carried off Hippodamia.

Book TII:361-420 His abduction of Hippodamia.

Ibis:163-208 The son of Tantalus.

Ibis:541-596 Brother of Niobe.


The old Latin household gods, two in number, whose name derives from penus a larder, or storage room for food. They were closely linked to the family and shared its joys and sorrows. Their altar was the hearth, which they shared with Vesta. Their images were placed at the back of the atrium in front of the Genius, the anonymous deity that protected and was the creative force in all groups and families, and, as the Genius of the head of the house and represented as a serpent, was placed between the Lar (Etruscan guardian of the house) and Penates. At meals they were placed between the plates and offered the first food. The Penates moved with a family and became extinct if the family did. See Lares.

Book TI.III:1-46 Ovid’s wife prays to the Penates.

Book TI.III:47-102 The deserted gods he leaves behind.

Book TI.V:45-84 Book TIV.VIII:1-52 Gods of the household, and synonymous with it.


The wife of Ulysses, and daughter of Icarius and the Naiad Periboa.

(See  J R Spencer Stanhope’s painting-  Penelope – The De Morgan Foundation). See Homer’s Odyssey.

Book TI.VI:1-36 Book TII:361-420 Book TV.XIV:1-46 Homer made Penelope famous as a loyal wife, through the Odyssey.

Book TV.V:27-64 Ovid compares his wife’s character to hers.

Book TV.V:27-64 Made famous by her response to her husband’s fate.

Book EIII.1:105-166 She kept the suitors at bay.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 A poet in Ovid’s list of his lesser contemporaries wrote Ulysses’ letters home to her, presumably imitating Ovid’s Heroides.

Ibis:365-412 Her maids and the suitors killed at the end of the Odyssey.


A River in Colchis.

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


The son of Echion and Agave, the grandson of Cadmus through his mother. He was King of Thebes. Tiresias foretold his fate at the hands of the Maenads (Bacchantes). He rejected the worship of Bacchus-Dionysus and ordered the capture of the god. He was torn to pieces by the Bacchantes for his impiety.

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

Ibis:465-540 Torn to pieces by his mother and the other Bacchantes.

Perilla (1)

The pseudonym of Metella the mistress of Ticida.

Book TII:421-470 Mentioned.

Perilla (2)

Ovid’s stepdaughter, the daughter of his third wife. She married Marcus Suillius Rufus not later than AD16, and had a son Marcus Suiliius Nerullinus.

Book TIII.VII:1-54 Ovid talks about his encouragement of her poetic leanings.

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


See Phalaris.

Book TIII. XI:39-74 The maker of the brazen bull.

Book TV.I:49-80 Book TV.XII:1-68 Ibis:413-464 Tormented by his own invention.


The son of Jupiter and Danaë, grandson of Acrisius, King of Argos. He was conceived as a result of Jupiter’s rape of Danaë, in the form of a shower of gold. He is represented by the constellation Perseus near Cassiopeia. He is depicted holding the head of the Medusa, whose evil eye is the winking star Algol. It contains the radiant of the Perseid meteor shower. His epithets are Abantiades (scion of Abas), Acrisioniades, Agenorides, Danaëius, Inachides, Lyncides. (See Burne-Jones’s oil paintings and gouaches in the Perseus series particularly The Arming of Perseus, The Escape of Perseus, The Rock of Doom, Perseus slaying the Sea-Serpent, and The Baleful Head.)( See Benvenuto Cellini’s bronze Perseus - the Loggia, Florence). He slew the gorgon, Medusa, killed Acrisius accidentally in fulfilment of prophecy, and married Andromeda.

Book TIII.VIII:1-42 His winged sandals.

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

Ibis:413-464 Called Abantiades. The infant Perseus and his mother Danae were cast into the sea in a wooden box by her father Acrisius, son of Abas, King of Argolis.


The daughter of King Minos of Crete and Pasiphaë, sister of Ariadne. She loved Hippolytus her stepson, and brought him to his death. (See Racine’s play – Phaedra, and Euripides’Hipploytos.).

Book TII:361-420 Her illict love.


Son of Clymene, daughter of Oceanus and Tethys whose husband was the Ethiopian king Merops. His true father is Sol, the sun-god ( Phoebus). He asked his mother for proof of his divine origin and went to the courts of the Sun to see his father who granted him a favour. He asked to drive the Sun chariot, lost control of the chariot and was destroyed by Jupiter in order to save the earth from being consumed by fire. See Metamorphoses Books I and II.

Book TI.I:70-128 He would fear the sky if he still lived.

Book TIII.IV:1-46 Merops was his putative father.

Book TIV.III:49-84 Book EI.II:1-52 His sisters remained loyal to him, and grieved for him. They were turned into poplar trees weeping amber by the River Po, happy in losing their sense of feeling.

Ibis:465-540 Struck down by Jupiter’s thunderbolt to avoid the earth being consumed.


The Tyrant of Agrigentum in Sicily, 571-555BC. He was noted for his cruelty. He had Perillus the sculptor and inventor design a brazen bull for him where victims could be roasted alive and made Perillus himself its first victim. Polybius (Histories XII.25) claims to have seen the bull, which had been taken to Carthage at the time of the Carthaginian conquest in 406/5BC. Diodorus Siculus (History XIII.90.4) reports the same and that subsequently Scipio returned it to Agrigentum after the sack of Carthage in 146BC.

Book TIII. XI:39-74 Book EII.IX:39-80 Book EIII.VI:1-60 An example of cruelty.

Book TV.I:49-80 Allowed Perillus to groan and bellow.

Ibis:413-464 Ovid implies he was also tormented in the bull.


An island near Alexandria in Egypt, site of the lighthouse. Protected by Isis as goddess of the sea. Subsequently silted up and linked to the mainland.

Book EI.I:37-80 Associated with the worship of Isis.


A river in Colchis, famous for its gold. Medea is called the Phasian.

Book TII:421-470 Reached by the Argonauts.

Book EIII.III:1-108 Medea, the Phasian girl.

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

Ibis:597-644 Of the region of the river, hence Colchian.


Book EII.IX:39-80 Descended from Alexander Tyrant of Pherae in Thessaly.

Ibis:311-364Alexander d. 358 BC was tyrant of the city of Pherae in Thessaly after 369. He was opposed by other Thessalian cities and by the Thebans. Pelopidas failed (368) in one expedition against him and was briefly imprisoned. Returning in 364, Pelopidas destroyed Alexander's power in the battle of Cynoscephalae, though he himself was killed. Alexander was subsequently murdered by members of his own family, led by his wife Thebe (see Plutarch’s: Life of Pelopidas)

Phidias, Phideas

The Athenian sculptor and painter (490?-432?BC) creator of severeal famous works including the Zeus of Olympia, the Athena Parthenos and Athena Promachos, and general director of the Acropolis building project under Pericles.

Book EIV.I:1-36 His statues of Athene.


Philetas of Cos (5th century BC) the Greek grammarian and poet, famed for elegy. His verses to Bittis his wife or sweetheart were especially prized.

Book TI.VI:1-36 Mirrors Ovid’s love for his wife.

Philippus, Philip

Philip I of Macedonia, the father of Alexander.

Book EIV.XV:1-42 His lands, Macedonia.


The son of Poeas. He lit Hercules’ funeral pyre and received from him the bow, quiver and arrows that would enable the Greeks to finally win at Troy, and that had been with Hercules when he rescued Hesione there.

Bitten by a snake on Lemnos, he was abandoned there on Ulysses advice. Ulysses accepted later that Philoctetes and his weapons were essential for the defeat of the Trojans and brought Philoctetes and the weapons to Troy.

Book TV.I:49-80 Book TV.IV:1-50 His laments on Lemnos.

Book TV.II:1-44 Ibis:251-310 His long sickness from the noxious wound.

Book EI.III:1-48 Treated by Machaon. Called Poeantian as the son of Poeas.

Book EIII.1:1-66 Made more famous by his fate.


The daughter of Pandion, sister of Procne, raped by her sister’s husband Tereus. She convinced her father to allow her to visit her sister Procne, unaware of Tereus’s lust for her. Tereus violated her, and she vowed to tell the world of his crime. He severed her tongue and told Procne she was dead. Philomela communicated with Procne by means of a woven message, and was rescued by her during the Bacchic revels. She then helped Procne to murder Itys, the son of Tereus and Procne.

Pursued by Tereus she turned into a swallow or a nightingale. See Metamorphoses Book VI.

Book TII:361-420 Changed to a bird.

Ibis:465-540 Her tongue cut out.


Ibis:251-310 The Arcadian Greek general of Megalopolis (c253-182BC: see the life by Plutarch: a life by Polybius, who carried home the general’s bones after his death, is lost: see also Pausanias VIII.49.3). He fought in various battles for the Achaian League against Laconia. In old age he fought the Messenians, his proud aggressive character leading him to wage war when unfit to do so. He fell from his horse through weakness, and was captured, and ultimately executed by Deinocrates and the Messenians, drinking poison. Ovid perhaps plays here on the fact of his face being ‘no picture’, and the hubris that led to his downfall. Ovid places his final battle near Tegea in the Alean fields, since Aleus was the founder of Tegea, or perhaps uses Alean loosely for Arcadian.


King of Salmydessus in Thrace, and son of Agenor, he was a blind prophet, who had received the gift of prophecy from Apollo. He was blinded by the gods for prophesying the future too accurately, and was plagued by a pair of Harpies. Calais and Zetes, the sons of Boreas, and his brothers-in-law, rid him of their loathsome attentions, in return for advice on how to obtain the Golden Fleece. The two winged sons chased the Harpies to the Strophades islands, where some say their lives were spared. Phineus and his second wife Idaea persecuted his two children by his first wife, Cleopatra, the sister of Calais and Zetes.

Book EI.IV:1-58 Ibis:251-310 He guided the Argonauts.


A name for Diana, as moon-goddess.


The son of Amyntor, hence Amyntorides, blinded by his father and cursed with childlessness, who was cured by Cheiron the Centaur and became guardian to Achilles.

Ibis:251-310 Blinded.


A region in Asia Minor, containing Dardania and Troy, and Mysia and Pergamum. Ovid uses the term for the whole of Asia Minor bordering the Aegean. Phrygius often means Trojan.

Book TII:361-420 Pelops had Phrygian horses.

Book EI.I:37-80 Ibis:413-464 Phrygian boxwood flutes used in the rites of Cybele. The worship of the goddess originated in Asia Minor.

Book EIII.III:1-108 Ibis:541-596 Marsyas was Phrygian.

Phyllis (1)

A character in Virgil’s Bucolic poems.

Book TII:497-546 A character in the Eclogues.

Phyllis (2)

The title of a poem by Tuscus.

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


Book EIV.X:1-34 The cruel chieftain of a tribe near Tomis.


An epithet for the Muses from the Pierian district of Mount Olympus.

Book TIII.VII:1-54 Book TIV.IX:1-32 Book TV.I:1-48 Poetry generally.

Book TIV.I:1-48 Poetry has in a sense harmed him, through the banning of the Ars Amatoria and his exile.

Book TV.III:1-58 Book EI.V:43- 86 The choir of poets, belonging to the Muses.

Book TV.VII:1-68 Book EII.V:41-76 Book EIV.II:1-50

Book EIV.XII:1-50The Muses.


The lyric poet of Boeotian Thebes (after 442BC) famous for his odes, many celebrating winning athletes at the Games.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 Imitated by Rufus a poet in Ovid’s list of his lesser contemporaries.


The Pirenian Spring. A famous fountain on the citadel of Corinth sacred to the Muses, where Bellerephon took Pegasus to drink. Pausanias says (II:iii, Corinth) that Peirene  was a human being who became a spring, through weeping for her son Cenchrias, killed by accident by Artemis, and that the water is sweet to taste. (It has Byzantine columns, and was once the private garden of the Turkish Bey.). The spring was said never to fail. It was also the name of a fountain outside the city gates, towards Lechaeum, into whose waters the Corinthian bronzes were dipped red-hot on completion.

Book EI.III:49-94 Corinth, where Jason was eventually king.


Son of Ixion. King of the Lapithae in Thessaly and friend of Theseus. He married Hippodamia, and invited the centaurs to the wedding. Eurytus attempted to carry her off, and started a fight in which Theseus was also involved. He assisted Theseus on his journey to Hades to rescue Persephone and was imprisoned there with him. Theseus was rescued by Hercules.

Book TI.V:1-44 Book EII.III:1-48 Book EII.VI:1-38 Famous for his friendship with Theseus.


The district of Elis in which Olympia lay, and often synonymous with Elis. Pisa presided over the Olympic games until c 580BC.

Book TII:361-420 Ibis:365-412 Hippodamia was from Pisa.

Book TIV.X:93-132 Ovid had lived for ten Olympiads, the space between Olympic Games, of five years each.


The Seven Sisters, the daughters, with the Hyades and the Hesperides, of Atlas the Titan. Their mother was Pleione the naiad. They were chased by Orion rousing the anger ofArtemis to whom they were dedicated and changed to stars by the gods. The Pleiades are the star cluster M45 in the constellation Taurus. Their names were Maia, the mother of Mercury by Jupiter, Taÿgeta, Electra, Merope, Asterope, Alcyone (the brightest star of the cluster), and Celaeno. Their rising and setting in May and late October signalled the beginning and end of the navigation season and provided farmers with sowing and harvest guidance. (See Hesiod Works and Days:383)

Book TI.XI:1-44 Book EI.VIII:1-70 Book EII.VII:47-84 Autumn and Winter stars. Rising in mid-October.

Book EI.V:43- 86 Remote stars.

Pluto, Dis, Hades, Plutus

The God of the Underworld, elder brother of Jupiter and Neptune, and like them the son of Saturn and Rhea. Identified with Plutus the son of Ceres, god of riches.

Book TI. IX:1-66 God of Tartarus, the Underworld.

Ibis:413-464 Identified with Plutus, wealth.


The son of Asclepius and brother of Machaon. A physician who led a contingent to Troy. He and Machaon were the chief physicians to the Greek camp. He is said to have healedPhiloctetes, and settled in Caria after the war.

Book TV.VI:1-46 A reliable physician.


Ibis:541-596 The son of Priam of Troy sent to his uncle Polymestor who murdered him.

Polyduces, Pollux

The son of King Tyndareus of Sparta (or Zeus), and Leda, and one of the twin Dioscuri, brother of Castor. The brothers of Helen. Castor was an expert horseman, Pollux a noted boxer. They came to be regarded as the protectors of sailors, and gave their names to the two major stars of the constellation Gemini, The Twins.

Book TI.X:1-50 Worshipped on Samothrace.

Book TIV.V:1-34 His affection for his brother. Note that Ovid’s naming of these gods is consistent with the shipwreck imagery earlier in the poem.


Ibis:251-310 Ibis:541-596 King of Thrace, husband of Ilione daughter of Priam. He murdered his own child Deiphilus rather than Polydorus, Iliona’s nephew, sent to him by Priam for safety, whom Agamemnon had bribed him with gold to kill. Polydorus blinded him. Alternatively Polymestor killed Polydorus for the gold sent by Priam for safekeeping, with the boy, and the boy’s mother Hecuba in turn murdered him, and tore out his eyes.


The brother of Eteocles and Antigone, the son of Oedipus and Jocasta. The leader of the Seven against Thebes.

Book TII:313-360 The brothers’ mutual death.

Ibis:1-40 The smoke of their funeral pyre divided by enmity.


One of the Cyclopes, sons of Neptune, one-eyed giants living in Sicily (Trinacria). He was blinded by Ulysses, causing Poseidon/Neptune’s enmity against him, and adding to his long wanderings. The Cyclops were linked to metal-working and the volcano of Mount Etna on Sicily.

Book EII.II:75-126 A hostile monster.

Ibis:251-310 Ibis:365-412 Blinded by Ulysses whose men he had attacked and some of whom he had consumed.

Pompeius (1)

Gnaius Pompeius Magnus, the triumvir.

Book EIV.III:1-58 Defeated at Pharsalus (48BC) he sought refuge in Egypt but was killed on arrival, and his severed head was sent to Caesar. The headless corpse was left on the sand.

Pompeius (2)

Sextus Pompeius a patron of Ovid. He was a descendant of Pompey the Great, was related to Augustus, and was consul in 14AD. He was a friend of Germanicus, and became proconsul of Asia.

Book EIV.I:1-36 This letter addressed to him explicitly. Ovid apologises for his neglect, and is no doubt trying to make contact with friends of Germanicus. The death of Augustus has occurred or is imminent.

Book EIV.IV:1-50 Addressed to him explicitly. His consulship approved.

Book EIV.V:1-46 Addressed to him explicitly, after he had become Consul.

Book EIV.XV:1-42 Addressed to him explicitly.


An epic poet and member of Ovid’s circle, probably the Ponticus of Propertius I:7, and 9. He appears to have written a Thebaid.

Book TIV.X:41-92 Mentioned.


The Black Sea, originally called  αξειυος:axenus, inhospitable, because of its storms, and the barbarous tribes on its coast, later hospitable, εϋξειυος:euxinus, as a euphemism. Hence Euxene as an epithet. Ovid also calls the region in which Tomis lay, Pontus. The name is extended to the land adjacent to the Sea, along its southern shore as far as Colchis, sometimes the whole Thracian shore.

Book TI.II:75-110 Book EIII.VIII:1-24 Ovid speaks of Pontus-on-the-left, the ill-omened (to him) western shore of the Black Sea, on the left as one exits the Bosphorus.

Book TI.VIII:1-50 The ‘sinister’ Black Sea, both Pontus ‘on the left’ Tomis being on the western coast, and, for Ovid, unlucky, unfavourable Pontus: a play on the word.

Book TI.X:1-50 The ‘gates’ of the Black Sea, that is the Bosphorus (Dardanelles). Guarded by the city of Byzantium.

Book TIII.II:1-30 Ovid complains of its perpetual frost. If so the climate has changed, since the modern summers in Tomis are hot, and the autumns mild. (Constanta is now a holiday resort.)

Book TIII.IV:1-46 Described as Scythian.

Book TIII.VIII:1-42 Book EIV.XII:1-50 His dislike of the location, plagued by insomnia, and weak in body.

Book TIII. X:41-78 Book TV.X:1-53 Book EIV.VII:1-54 The Black Sea frozen in winter. Its dolphin population.

Book TIII. XI:1-38 The inhospitable Black Sea.

Book TIII. XII:1-54 A destination for trading vessels.

Book TIII.XIII:1-28 The ‘hospitable’ Euxine.

Book TIII.XIV:1-52 The languages of the region.

Book TIV.I:1-48 Book TV.II:45-79 Book TV.V:27-64 Book EI.IX:1-56

Book EIV.IX:89-134 Book EIV.XV:1-42 His place of exile, decreed by Augustus.

Book TV.II:1-44 His letters home to his wife from there.

Book TV.XIII:1-34 Icy Pontus. The wormwood plant, especially artemisia absinthium, the aromatic herb found in grasslands in the Northern hemisphere and the source of absinthe, grew there abundantly. Up to 80cm high it has deeply divided leaves and small yellow flowers grouped into long loose spikes. The undersides of the leaves are pale.

Book EI.III:49-94 Book EII.VII:47-84 Book EIII.1:1-66 A hostile region for exile.

Book EI.IV:1-58 Jason’s destination, seeking the Golden Fleece.

Book EII.IV:1-34 Book EIV.IX:55-88 It’s frozen climate.

Book EII.V:1-40 His verses sent from there.

Book EIII.II:1-110 Far from Rome.

Book EIII.V:1-58 Metaphorically close to the Styx.

Ibis:1-40 A witness to his ‘gratitude’ to Augustus for being merciful.

Book EIV.IV:1-50 News of Pompey’s consulship reaches him there.

Book EIV.X:35-84 The land-locked sea.


An Indian leader whom Alexander conquered but treated generously.

Book TIII.V:1-56 Displays Alexander’s mercy.


The Greek god of the sea, equated to Neptune.


The King of Troy at the time of the Trojan War, the son of Laomedon, husband of Hecuba, by whom he had many children. In the Metamorphoses Ovid mentions Hector, Helenus, Paris, Polydorus, Deïphobus, Cassandra and Polyxena. Aesacus was his son by Alexiroë. He ransomed the dead body of his son Hector from Achilles, and was killed at the Fall of Troy by Pyrrhus (Neoptolemus, son of Achilles) in front of the altar of Zeus.

Book TIII.V:1-56 Achilles gave up the body of Hector.

Book TV.I:49-80 His weeping did not offend Achilles.

Book TV.IV:1-50 His grief at Hector’s death.

Book TV.XII:1-68 The death of his sons.


The Pan of Mysia in Asia Minor, venerated as Lampsacus, from the town of that name which was his original cult centre, where he was born ot the goddess Aphrodite-Venus. God of gardens and vineyards. His phallic image was placed in orchards and gardens. He presided over the fecundity of fields, flocks, beehives, fishing and vineyards. He became part of the retinue of Dionysus.

Book TI.X:1-50 The local god of Lampsacus.


Two Augustan poets, one of whom was probably Clutorius Priscus, who wrote a lament on the death of Germanicus, and was later put to death in 21AD for having read a poem to ladies lamenting the death of Drusus while Drusus was alive. The other Priscus is unknown.

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


The daughter of Pandion, king of Athens, married to Tereus, king of Thrace. See Metamorphoses Book VI:438. She persuaded Tereus to bring her sister Philomela to stay with her. Tereus raped and mutilated her sister, and told Procne that Philomela was dead. Philomela communicated with her by means of a woven message, and she rescued her during theBacchic rites. She murdered her son Itys and served the flesh to Tereus. Pursued by Tereus she turned into a nightingale. The bird’s call, mourning Itys, is said to be ‘Itu! Itu!’ which is something like the occasional ‘chooc, chooc’ among its wide range of notes. Alternative versions of the legend make her the swallow, while Philomela becomes the nightingale.

Book TII:361-420 Book EI.III:1-48 Changed to a bird.

Book TIII. XII:1-54 Changed to a swallow.

Book TV.I:49-80 Her lament for Itys.

Book EIII.1:105-166 Impious in murdering Itys.


Ibis:365-412 Or Polypemon, the father of Sinis, who used to cut travellers down to the size of his bed or stretch them accordingly. Theseus served him in the same way.


An Augustan erotic poet who imitated Callimachus.

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


Ibis:251-310 Ibis:465-540 Ibis:541-596 The creator of mankind, son of the Titan Eurymedon, or of Iapetus by the nymph Clymene. He stole fire from the gods. He was tormented byJupiter, by being chained naked to a pillar in the Caucasus, where a vulture tore at his liver day and night.


Sextus Aurelius Propertius (c.50-c.15BC) the Roman elegiac poet, from Asisium (Assisi) in Umbria. An older poet and a major influence on Ovid, his first volume the Monobiblosgained him entry to Maecenas’s circle. Like Tibullus he died relatively young.

Book TII:421-470 His risqué verse.

Book TIII.III:47-88 Note the echoes of Propertius’s BkIV:7

Book TIII.VII:1-54 Note the echoes of Propertius, for example BkIII:25

Book TIV.X:41-92 A friend of Ovid’s. He came between Tibullus and Ovid in order of seniority.

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


The landlocked Sea of Marmara lying between the Hellespont (Dardanelles) and the Thracian Bosphorus, linking the Aegean to Pontus, the Black Sea (Euxine).

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

Book TIII. XII:1-54 Book EIV.IX:89-134 The entrance to the Black Sea.


Thessalian chief, the grandson of Phylacus, killed by Hector, the first of the Greeks to be slain in the Trojan War. See Laodemia, his wife. 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 TII:361-420 Book TV.XIV:1-46 Loved by his wife. Grandson of Phylacus.


Ibis:541-596 The daughter of Crotopus who bore Linus to Apollo. Her father’s hounds killed the boy.


Ibis:311-364 Son of Taphius (son of Poseidon) and king of Taphos (an island off the coast of Acarnania) at the time when Amphitryon ravaged the islands of the Taphians or Teleboans. Poseidon made him immortal by implanting a golden hair in his head, but his daughter Comaetho, having fallen in love with the besieger Amphitryon, betrayed her father and caused his death by pulling out the golden hair from his head.


Of Phocis, the son of Strophius and close friend of Orestes, whom he accompanied on his return to Mycenae, and whose sister Electra he later married.

Book TI.V:1-44 Book TI. IX:1-66 Book TIV.IV:43-88 Book TV.IV:1-50 Book TV.VI:1-46 Book EII.III:1-48 A paragon of friendship.

Book EIII.II:1-110 His fame lived after him.

Book EIII.II:1-110 With Orestes in Tauris.


The city in Elis in the western Peloponnese, the home of Nestor the wise, in the Iliad and Odyssey.

Book TV.V:27-64 Book EI.IV:1-58 Book EII.VIII:37-76 Nestor’s city.


Ibis:541-596 Wife and cousin to Deucalion, and the only woman to survive the Great Flood. Daughter of the Titan Epimetheus, hence called Titania. Epimetheus was a brother toPrometheus.


The son of Achilles, later called Neoptolemus. He had children by Andromache.

Book TII:361-420 Neoptolemus, son of Achilles and Deidamia.

Ibis:251-310 Pyrrhus killed Priam at Troy on the altar of Apollo, and was in turn killed by Machaereus a Phocian and the priest of Apollo at Delphi on the Pythoness’s orders, for interfering with the sacrifice there. Ovid says his bones were scattered in Ambracia, where he had built a city near Lake Pambrotis and the oracle of Dodona in Epirus.


The famous Greek philosopher of Samos, the Ionian island, who flourished in the second half of the 6th century BC as a religious leader, and mathematician also. He took up residence at Crotona in Italy (c531BC), where Numa (anachronistically in legend, since he lived over a century before Pythagoras) came to be his pupil. His school was later revived at Tarentum and survived as a sect into the 4th century BC.

Book TIII.III:47-88 He taught the immortality of the soul.

Book EIII.III:1-108 He taught Numa.


The name for the deified Romulus. Originally the name of a Sabine god.

Book TI.III:1-46 Book TI.VIII:1-50 Book EI.V:43- 86

Rome is Quirinus’s city.


An Augustan epic poet who wrote about Mark Antony’s fate.

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


The district north of Verona from the Alps to Vindelicia on the north, Helvetia on the west and Noricum on the east, i.e. roughly eastern Switzerland, Bavaria and the Tyrol. Raetia became an Imperial province in 15AD.

Book TII:207-252  The Alpine insurgents occupied the area and were defeated by Drusus and Tiberius.


The son of Mars and Ilia, hence Iliades, twin brother of Romulus.

He leapt the fresh walls Romulus was building to found Rome, in derision, and Romulus killed him.

Book TIV.III:1-48 See the entry for Romulus.

Ibis:597-644 He leapt the unfinished walls.


A name for Nemesis from her temple at Rhamnus in Attica.

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


The river Rhine in northern Europe.

Book TIV.II:1-74 Stained with the blood of German defeat.

Book EIII.IV:57-115 Ovid anticipates a German Triumph, either of Germanicus or Tiberius.


Ibis:597-644 A Thracian king, famous for his horses, killed by Ulysses and Diomedes in a night raid at Troy.


Ibis:311-364 A mountain in Thrace. Supposed to be a mortal turned into a mountain for assuming the name of a great god. The scene of the triennial festival of Bacchus, thetrietericusOrpheus fled there after losing Eurydice a second time, hence Rhodopeius an epithet of Orpheus.


The father of Cotys.

Roma, Rome

The city on the Tiber, capital of the Empire. Founded by Romulus in 753BC on the feast of Pales, the Palilia, April 21st.

Book TI.III:47-102 Ovid’s departure from the city.

Book TI.V:45-84 Ovid stresses its importance to him, as the seat of Empire and the gods. He is civilised man going among the barbarians.

Book TI.VIII:1-50 Quirinus’s ‘tranquil’ city.

Book TII:155-206 The Danube delta the furthest Roman region on the west coast of the Black Sea.

Book TIII.I:1-46 The Palatine was the site of the original foundation.

Book TIII.II:1-30 Ovid’s homesickness for the city.

Book TIII.VI:1-38 ‘Suburban’ means ‘near the city’, i.e. close to Rome.

Book TIII. XII:1-54 Book EI.VIII:1-70 Ovid refers to the string of spring festivals which included the Megalesia, the Floralia, and the Quinquatrus Maiores (19th March) when the law-courts closed. (Fasti I:297-8). The Campus Martis was an area for exercise. The Aqua Virgo was an aqueduct constructed by Agrippa and opened in 19BC to provide a water supply for the public baths he was building: it entered the city from the north and ran as far as the Campus Martis.  The source by the Via Collatina was supposed to have been revealed by a young girl. The opening took place on the 9th June the feast-day of Vesta and the spring may have in fact been dedicated to her.

The three theatres were those of Pompey, Marcellus and Balbus. The three forums were the forum Romanum, Iulium, and Augusti.

Book TV.I:49-80 The highest standard of poetry in the Empire achieved there.

Book TV.II:1-44 Augustus as the source of Rome’s power.

Book TV.VI:1-46 Officials (the curule magistrates, consuls and praetors) wore the toga bordered with a broad purple stripe. The lectors carried the fasces, axes encased in a bundle of rods, the symbols of authority, and demanded reverence for the magistrates as they passed, with cries of animadvertite: take note.

Book EI.II:53-100 The Roman language, Latin, the tongue of the glorious city.

Book EI.III:1-48 The place he loves most.

Book EI.V:43- 86 Rome, as the city of the heart.

Book EII.I:68 The buildings of the Forum bright with reflected light from the gold ornaments of Tiberius’s triumph.

Book EIV.IV:1-50 The Curia or Senate-house.

Book EIV.IX:55-88 The consulship as Rome’s highest honour.


The mythical founder of Rome with his twin brother Remus. They were the children of Ilia/Rhea Silvia, daughter of Aeneas, or in the more common tradition Numitor the deposed king of Alba Longa. Amulius, Numitor’s brother usurped his throne and made Ilia a Vestal Virgin, but she was visited by Mars himself. Thrown into the Tiber the twins cradle caught in a fig tree (the Ficus Ruminalis) and they were rescued by a she-wolf and fed by a woodpecker, creatures sacred to Mars. Brought up by peasants the twins built the first walled settlement on the Palatine. Romulus killed his brother for jumping over the wall.  He reigned for forty years and then vanished, becoming the Roman god Quirinus.


A friend of Ovid’s, possibly Gaius Vivius Rufinus who fought in the Illyrian Wars, shared in Tiberius’s triumph of AD12 and later became proconsul in Asia and a legate of Germania Superior. The elder Pliny probably refers to this same Gaius Vivius as an authority on herbs and treatments.

Book EI.III:1-48 This letter addressed to him.

Book EIII.IV:1-56 This letter addressed to him.

Rufus (1)

An uncle of the poet’s wife and a native of Fundi.

Book EII.XI:1-28 Addressed explicitly to him.

Rufus (2)

Lucius Varius Rufus, a member of Maecenas’s circle who travelled with him to Brundisium in 38BC, and friend of Horace and Virgil. He wrote tragedies, such as Thyestes performed in 29BC after Actium, and an epic On Death. He edited the Aeneid after Virgil’s death with Plotius Tucca.

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


Publius Rutilius Rufus, a friend of Scipio Aemilianus, consul 105BC.

Book EI.III:49-94 He opposed extortion by the equites in his province of Asia and was himself condemned to a fine he refused to accept. The alternative was exile, which he underwent in Smyrna.

Rutuli, Rutulians

An Italic people living on the coast of Latium whose chief city was Ardea. Their king Turnus fought against the Trojans in Virgil’s Aeneid, and his people were later absorbed intoRome.

Book TI.V:1-44 The cause of Nisus and Euryalus’s deaths in the war.


An Augustan epic and elegiac poet. He wrote replies to some of Ovid’s Heroides, a poem on the calendar (perhaps) and a Troien (?Troy)

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

Sacred Way, Via Sacra

The Via Sacra, the old street running south-east from the Forum Romanum and the Capitoline in Rome, with the Palatine on its right. It was a smart shopping street in Ovid’s day and probably derived its name from buildings like the Basilica Julia nearby.

Book TIII.I:1-46 Mentioned.


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


Cassius Salanus, a friend of Ovid, and Germanicus, who apparently coached Germanicus in oratory.

Book EII.V:1-40 Addressed to him. His approval of Ovid’s works.

Book EII.V:41-76 Tutored Germanicus in oratory.

Samos (1), Same

An island off the coast of Asia Minor opposite Ephesus, sacred to Juno, and the birthplace of Pythagoras (at Pythagórion = Tigáni). Samos was famous for its Heraion, the great sanctuary of the goddess Hera-Juno, and for its wine. It was a major naval power in the 6th century BC, under the tyrant Polycrates, and attracted sculptors, scientists and poets, such asAnacreon and Ibycus. Pythagoras migrated to Magna Graecia, perhaps in protest at Polycrates’ rule.

Book TIII.III:47-88 The birthplace of Pythagoras.

Samos (2), Samothrace

Threicia, i.e. Samothrace, the northern Aegean island, north-west of Imbros and north-east of Lemnos.

Book TI.X:1-50 Ovid changed ships there.

Book TI.X:1-50 The Gemini, the twins Castor and Pollux, the patron gods of travellers, were worshipped there, a cult based on a more ancient worship of the Kabeiroi, an archaic Greek equivalent.


The lyric poetess, born c. 618BC on Lesbos, where she spent her life apart from a short period in exile in Sicily. Known as the ‘Tenth Muse.’ Her intense erotic relationships with women led to the term Sapphic, or Lesbian.

Book TII:361-420 Her love poetry.

Book TIII.VII:1-54 The Poetess of Lesbos, the highest standard for a woman’s poetic efforts.


Ibis:311-364 An unidentified, possibly mythical, King of Assyrian Nineveh, who lived in great luxury, and who when besieged by the Medes set fire to his palace killing himself and his court.

Sarmatia, Sarmatians, Sauromatae

A nomadic Indo-European people related to the Scythians, and speaking a similar language. They were noted horse-breeders and horsemen. Their warrior princesses are known from Herodotus and from archaeological remains (burial mounds or kurgans). They may have formed the basis for the Amazons. Sarmatia was used as a general name for Europe east of the Carpathians and north of the Black Sea. Ovid often calls the region of Tomis, Sarmatian. By his day a Sarmatian tribe, the Roxolani, had reached as far west as the Danube basin.

Book TI.II:75-110 Ovid’s destination is a Sarmation territory.

Book TI.V:45-84 Book TIII.III:1-46 Book TIII.III:47-88

Book TIII. X:1-40 Book TIV.I:49-107 Book TIV.VIII:1-52

Book TIV.X:93-132 Book TV.I:1-48 Book TV.III:1-58

Book EI.II:53-100 Book EII.II:75-126 Ovid exiled among them.

Book TI.VIII:1-50 Their wild mountainous locale.

Book TII:155-206 They held the land on the border of the Roman area.

Book TIII. X:1-40 Book TIII. XII:1-54 Their carts pulled by oxen over the frozen Danube.

Book TV.I:49-80 His current poetry talented by comparison with anything the Sarmatian culture produces.

Book TV.VII:1-68 Horse-riding bowmen, warlike and semi-nomadic.

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

Book EI.II:1-52 Book EI.III:49-94 The poisoned arrows of the Sarmatians.

Book EI.II:53-100 His wish not to be buried in Sarmatian earth.

Book EI.V:43- 86 Ibis:597-644 Their skills in archery.

Book EII.VII:47-84 The chilly lands of the Sarmatians.

Book EIII.II:1-110 They appreciate the virtues of loyalty and friendship.

Book EIII.VIII:1-24 Book EIV.X:35-84 The Sarmatian Black Sea not a source of murex dyes.


Son of Earth and Heaven (Uranus) ruler of the universe in the Golden Age. Mother Earth persuaded her sons to attack Uranus, and depose him. Saturn the youngest was given a sickle and castrated Uranus. The Furies sprang from the shed blood. Saturn was deposed by his three sons JupiterNeptune and Pluto who ruled Heaven, Ocean and the Underworld respectively. He was banished to Tarturus. He was the father also of JunoCeres and Vesta by Ops.

Ibis:209-250 In astrology a maleficent planet of old age, duty, grief and cold.

Ibis:251-310 Castrated his father, Uranus.

Ibis:365-412 Great grandfather of Asclepius (the son of Apollo, son of Jupiter-Zeus, son of Saturn).


A name for Juno, daughter of Saturn.

Book TI.II:1-74 She hated Aeneas and supported Turnus.

Satyrs, Satyri

Demi-gods. Woodland deities of male human form but with goats’ ears, tails, legs and budding horns. Sexually lustful. They were followers of Bacchus-Dionysus.

Book TV.III:1-58 The male followers of Bacchus.

Book EIII.III:1-108 Marsyas, the Satyr.

Ibis:41-104 Powers invoked by Ovid.

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


Ibis:365-412 A brigand of the Isthmus who used to kick travellers into the sea. Theseus served him in the same way.

Scylla (1)

The daughter of Phorcys and the nymph Crataeis, remarkable for her beauty. Circe or Amphitrite, jealous of Neptune’s love for her changed her into a dog-like sea monster, ‘the Render’, with six heads and twelve feet. Each head had three rows of close-set teeth.Her cry was a muted yelping. She seized sailors and cracked their bones before slowly swallowing them. She threatened Ulysses men and destroyed six of them, and threatened Aeneas’s ships. Finally she was turned into a rock. (The rock projects from the Calabrian coast near the village of Scilla, opposite Cape Peloro on Sicily. See Ernle Bradford ‘Ulysses Found’ Ch.20)

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 EIII.1:105-166 Book EIV.X:1-34 She terrorised Sicilian waters.

Ibis:365-412 She attacked Ulysses’ men.

Scylla (2)

The daughter of King Nisus of Megara, who loved Minos. She decided to betray the city to him. She cut off the purple lock of Nisus’s hair that guaranteed the safety of his kingdom and his life. Minos rejected her and she was changed into the rock dove, columba livia, with its purple breast and red legs, while her father was changed into the sea eagle, haliaeetus albicilla. Her name Ciris, from κείρω, ‘I cut’, reflects her shearing of Nisus’s hair, as does the purple breast of the bird. But she is also an embodiment of the Cretan Great Goddess, Car, Ker or Q’re, to whom doves were sacred. Pausanias I xxxix says that Kar founded Megara, Nisus’s city and was king there. The acropolis was named Karia, and Kar built a great hall to Demeter (Ceres) there, Pausanias I xxxx. His tumulus was decorated with shell-stone sacred to the goddess at the command of an oracle, Pausanias I xxxxiii.  The rock dove no doubt nested on the rocks of the citadel and coastline. Pausanias II xxxiv says that Cape Skyllaion (Skyli) was named after Scylla. Hair cutting reflects ancient ritual and the Curetes were the ‘young men with shaved hair’ the devotees of the moon-goddess Cer, whose weapon clashing drove off evil spirits at eclipses and during the rites. See Metamorphoses Book VIII:1

Book TII:361-420 She did what she did through love of Minos.

Scythi, Scythia

Originally a nomadic people occupying the region between the Borysthenes (Dneiper) and the Tanais (Don), later used for all the inhabitants from northern Thrace, across southern Russia to the Caspian Sea, and including the Getae and Sarmatians. They were basically nomadic peoples, skilled in horses and archery, using hit and run fighting tactics. Ovid uses Scythian as a general term for the region of his exile.

Book TI.III:47-102 Book TIV.I:1-48 Ovid’s destination.

Book TI.VIII:1-50 Their wild mountainous locale.

Book TIII.II:1-30 He was destined to see Scythia.

Book TIII.IV:1-46 Book TV.X:1-53 Ovid calls the Black Sea region, Scythian. He talks about the Scythian marshes, though much was also wooded inland.

Book TIII. XI:39-74 Book TIV.VI:1-50 Book TV.X:1-53

Book EII.VIII:1-36 Book EIII.VII:1-40 Ovid is among the hostile Scythian tribes.

Book TIII. XII:1-54 He contemplates Tomis being his home now, rather than a temporary resting place.

Book TIII.XIV:1-52 The languages of the region.

Book TV.I:1-48 The Danube is Scythian.

Book TV.II:45-79 The Scythian waters he has sailed.

Book TV.VI:1-46 The Scythian air, unfavourable to him.

Book EI.I:37-80 Book EI.VII:1-70 Book EII.I:68 The Scythians armed with bows.

Book EI.II:101-150 His wish not to be buried in Scythian earth.

Book EI.III:1-48 The place he most detests.

Book EII.II:75-126 A place of savagery.

Book EIII.II:1-110 Tauris considered Scythian by Ovid.

Book EIII.VIII:1-24 He sends a gift of Scythian arrows to Paullus.

Book EIV.VI:1-50 His sixth year there.

Book EIV.IX:55-88 The hostile climate.

Secular Games, Ludi saeculares

The centennial games (17BC) celebrated by Augustus in honour of Apollo and other gods as a symbol of the regeneration of Rome under the new regime. It was promoted as a revival of ancient customs.

Book TII.I:1 Mentioned.


The daughter of Cadmus, loved by Jupiter. The mother of Bacchus (Dionysus). (See the painting by Gustave Moreau – Jupiter and Semele – in the Gustave Moreau Museum, Paris) She was consumed by Jupiter’s fire having been deceived by Juno. Her unborn child Bacchus was rescued.

Book TII:361-420 Loved by Jupiter.

Book TIV.III:49-84 Her father rescued the child.

Book TV.III:1-58 The mother of Bacchus, consumed by Jupiter’s fire.

Ibis:251-310 Sister of Ino.

Ibis:465-540 Sister of Autonoe.


An erotic poet, probably of the Republicam period. Pliny the Younger refers to such a poet, as does Horace (Sat. 1.10.86). Speculatively the son or grandson of Servius Sulpicius Rufus, and so the father or brother of Sulpicia the poetess.

Book TII:421-470 His verse.


The Greek town on the European shore of the Hellespont (Dardanelles) at its narrowest point opposite Abydos. Famous as the crossing point for Xerxes’ invading army in 480BC as it moved from Asia Minor to attack Greece. The city was later controlled by Athens and remained important in Roman times, but declined after the founding of Byzantium (now Istanbul). The home of Hero the priestess who loved Leander of Abydos. He swam across to her, until finally drowning.

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


Cornelius Severus an epic poet who wrote on the Sicilian wars between Octavian and Pompey (38-36BC). He was a member of Messalla’s circle, mentioned by Seneca and Quintilian.

Book EI.VIII:1-70 If the Severus addressed here is the same Severus the poet as EIV.II:3-4 it is hard to reconcile with the later poem’s statement that Ovid has not mentioned Severus’s name before. Either the two poems are out of chronological order, or we have here a different Severus.

Book EIV.II:1-50 This poem explicitly addressed to him.

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


The priestess of Apollo in the temple at Cumae built by Daedalus. She prophesied perched on or over a tripod. She guided Aeneas through the underworld and showed him the golden bough that he must pluck from the tree. She was offered immortality by Phoebus Apollo, but forgot to ask also for lasting youth, dooming her to wither away until she was merely a voice.

Book EII.VIII:37-76 Her long life.


Sicania, Trinacri. The Mediterranean island, west of Italy.

Book TIII. XI:39-74 Phalaris was tyrant at Acragas.

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

Book EIII.1:105-166 The straits of Messina terrorised by Scylla.

Ibis:163-208 The flowery meadows of Hybla.

Ibis:413-464 Achaemenides abandoned there.

Ibis:597-644 The giants were imprisoned beneath the island.


A town of the Peloponnese west of Corinth on the Asopus River. (The home of the sculptor Lysippos. It is near modern Vasilikó.)

Ibis:311-364 The incident referred to is obscure.

Book EIV.XV:1-42 Famous for its olives (Pausanias X.32.110)


The city and port of the Phoenicians in the Lebanon, north of Tyre. Home of Europa. Famous like Tyre for its purple dyes, and for blown glass. Referred to by Homer.

Book TIV.II:1-74 Sidonian purple cloth.

Book TIV.III:1-48 Used for the Phoenicians who navigated by the stars, including the constellation of the Little Bear,Ursa Minor.

Book EI.III:49-94 Ibis:413-464 Home city of Cadmus.


Ibis:365-412 A brigand living at the narrowest point of the Isthmus who tied travellers to bent trees and tore them apart. Theseus served him in the same way.


A coastal city of Paphlagonia on the Black Sea.

Book EI.III:49-94 Diogenes the Cynic’s native city.


Thracian tribe living near the River Strymon.

Book TIV.I:1-48 Only mentioned here by Ovid, perhaps a textual corruption.


The daughters of Acheloüs, the Acheloïdes, companions of Proserpina, turned to woman-headed birds, or women with the legs of birds, and luring the sailors of passing ships with their sweet song. They searched for Proserpine on land, and were turned to birds so that they could search for her by sea. (There are various lists of their names, but Ernle Bradford suggests two triplets: Thelxinoë, the Enchantress; Aglaope, She of the Beautiful Face, and Peisinoë, the Seductress: and his preferred triplet Parthenope, the Virgin Face; Ligeia, the Bright Voice; and Leucosia, the White One – see ‘Ulysses Found’ Ch.17. Robert Graves in the index to the ‘The Greek Myths’ adds Aglaophonos, Molpe, Raidne, Teles, and Thelxepeia.) (See Draper’s painting – Ulysses and the Sirens – Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, England, and Gustave Moreau’s watercolour in the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard) Aeneas passed their island, between the Aeolian Islands and Cumae. (This was traditionally Capri, or more likely one of the five Galli islets, the Sirenusae, at the entrance to the Gulf of Salerno). See Homer’s Odyssey, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses Book V:533 and Book XIV:75

Book EIV.X:1-34 They lured Ulysses’ men with their singing.


Lucius Cornelius Sisenna, praetor in 78BC, and author of a Roman history praised by Varro and Cicero, and also the translator of the Milesian tales of Aristides (2nd Century BC)

Book TII:421-470 His translation contained coarse material.


Ibis:163-208 Founder of Corinth, the son of Aeolus. He was condemned to continually roll a huge stone up a hill in Hades, from which it rolled to the bottom again,


Of the central peninsula of Chalcidice, hence Thracian. A Thracian people, the Sithonians.

Book EIV.VII:1-54 Ruled by Rhoemetalces.


A major Greek city on the coast of Lydia.

Book EI.III:49-94 Rutilius exiled there. A desirable Greek colony.


The Athenian Greek philosopher (c469-399BC), Plato’s teacher. An ethical philosopher with an emphasis on logic, and the ‘Socratic method’ of interrogation to reveal inconsistency. He was charged with atheism and corruption of the young and was condemned to die by drinking hemlock. See Plato’s Phaedo, Symposium etc.

Book TV.XII:1-68 Accused by Anytus, he showed resilience under stress.

Ibis:465-540 He died by drinking hemlock.

Ibis:541-596 The Delphic oracle acclaimed him as the wisest of men, which he took to mean that he knew his own ignorance. Anytus was one of his accusers.


The sun-god, Helios, son of Hyperion. Identified with Phoebus Apollo.

Book TI.VIII:1-50 The sun, with his chariot and team of horses.

Book TII:361-420 His horses swerved in horror at Atreus’s revenge on his brother Thyestes (killing and serving his children cooked at a banquet).

Book TIII.V:1-56 The Sun at dawn heralded by Lucifer.

Book TIV.III:49-84 The father of Phaethon.


The mythical hybrid moinster with human head (usually female), and lion’s body. Imported from Egypt, and initially a monster, including that which questioned Oedipus, the Sphinx eventually became a winged, musical, harbinger of justice.

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 Killed those who failed to answer her riddles.

Sterope, Asterope

One of the seven stars of the Pleiades constellation.

Book TI.XI:1-44 Ovid uses it for the constellation.


The wife of Proetus of Argos. See Bellerephon.


The father of Pylades.

Book EII.VI:1-38 His son Pylades famous for his loyalty to Orestes.


A river in Thrace and Macedonia.

Book TV.III:1-58 Its snow-covered landscape.


A river of the underworld, with its lakes and pools, used to mean the underworld or the state of death itself. Arethusa passed its streams while journeying through the deep caverns from Elis to Sicily. This is the Arcadian river Styx near Nonacris. It forms the falls of Mavroneri, plunging six hundred feet down the cliffs of the Chelmos ridge to jojn the River Crathis. Pausanias says (VIII xvii), that Hesiod (Theogony 383) makes Styx the daughter of Ocean and the wife of the Titan Pallas. Their children were Victory and Strength. Epimenedes makes her the mother of Echidna. Pausanias says the waters of the river dissolve glass and stone etc.

Book TI.II:1-74 Ibis:541-596 Ibis:597-644 Being sent to the Stygian waters a synonym for being put to death.

Book TIV.V:1-34 Book TV.II:45-79 Book EI.III:1-48 Book EI.VIII:1-70 Book EII.III:1-48 Ibis:135-162 Ibis:209-250 The waters of oblivion, and (spiritual or physical) death.

Book TIV.X:41-92 The forum or courthouse of the dead.

Book EIII.V:1-58 Book EIV.IX:55-88 Pontus is metaphorically close to the Styx.

Ibis:41-104 The gods swore oaths on the waters of Styx.

Book EIV.VIII:49-90 The Giants sent there.

Book EIV.XIV:1-62 Preferable to the Danube.


Publius Suillius Rufus, the husband of Ovid’s stepdaughter Perilla. He was consul in 41 or 43 AD, and became proconsul in 52 or 53AD. He was accused of corruption and twice banished, by Tiberius in 24AD and again in 58AD. See Tacitus Annals IV:31, XI:4f: XIII:4f. He was quaestor to Germanicus.

Book EIV.VIII:1-48 Book EIV.VIII:49-90 This letter addressed to him, exploring the possibilities of appealing to Germanicus.


The chief town of the Paeligni, and Ovid’s birthplace, about ninety miles from Rome. Modern Sulmona.

Book TIV.X:1-40 Book EIV.XIV:1-62 His birthplace.


A town on the upper reaches of the Nile, modern Aswan, at the confines of the Empire.

Book EI.V:43- 86 A remote part of the Empire.


See Cyaneae. The clashing rocks.


The largest city of Sicily. A seaport in the south-east of the island on the Ionian sea. Founded by Greeks from Corinth in 734BC, it became an important cultural centre in the 5th century BC. Theocritus the poet and Archimedes the scientist and mathematician were born here. It fell to the Romans in 212BC.

Book EIV.III:1-58 Dionysius II its tyrant.


Book EIV.XIV:1-62 A dangerous series of sandbanks on the north coast of Africa between Tunis and Cyrene, in the gulfs of Sidra and Gabes. Pirates infested the neighbouring coasts.


Ibis:311-364 There was a Talaus, King of Argos, who married Lysianassa (or alternatively Lysimache). The reference is obscure.

Talus, Talos

Ibis:465-540 Talus, the son of Perdix, was a pupil of Daedalus and invented the saw. He was killed by Daedalus in a fit of jealousy, and thrown from the Athenian citadel, but Pallas turned him into the partridge, which takes its name from his mother, perdix perdix.


The river and river-god of Scythia. The River Don.

Book TIII.IV:1-46 The border for Ovid of the Roman region round Tomis.

Book EIV.X:35-84 A river running into the Black Sea. The boundary of Asia and Europe.


The king of Phrygia, son of Jupiter, father of Pelops and Niobe. He served his son Pelops to the gods at a banquet and was punished by eternal thirst in Hades. He was the great-grandfather of Menelaus, called Tantalides.

Book TII:361-420 Ibis:413-464 Father of Pelops.

Ibis:163-208 His punishment.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 Menelaus was his descendant.



Book EI.V:43- 86 A remote part of the Empire.

Tarpeius, Tarpeian Rock

The cliff-edge in Rome from which certain criminals (murderers and traitors) were thrown. Ovid calls the whole Capitoline Hill, Tarpeian, but strictly it applied to the western cliff, the Tarpeian Rock, named from Spurius Tarpeius who commanded the citadel in the Sabine War or his daughter Tarpeia who betrayed the citadel to the Sabines or from Lucius Tarpeius whom Romulus caused to be hurled from the rock. Not located it was placed by ancient sources close to the Roman Forum, the Temple of Saturn, or the Temple of Jupiter, which places it south-west of the Capitol.

Book EII.I:68 Climbed by the victor in a triumph.

Book EII.II:39-74 Augustus is also Jupiter Capitolinus, the Tarpeian Thunderer.

Book EIV.IV:1-50 Book EIV.VIII:1-48 The Tarpeian Altars were those of the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline.

Book EIV.IX:1-54 Scene of consular inaugurations.

Tartarus, Tartara

The underworld. The infernal regions ruled by Pluto (Dis) or specifically the region where the wicked were punished.

Book TI.II:1-74 The ocean abysses might touch there.

Book TI. IX:1-66 Ruled by Pluto.

Ibis:541-596 The infernal deep.


A people of the Crimea, the Tauric Chersonese.

Book TIV.IV:43-88 Ibis:365-412 The site of ritual human sacrifice to Diana.

Book EI.II:53-100 The Tauric region and people mentioned.

Book EIII.II:1-110 Called Scythian by Ovid.


The son of Ulysses and Circe, who unwittingly killed his own father Ulysses in one variant of myth.

Book TI.I:70-128 A parricide.


Ibis:251-310 A soothsayer, son of Eurymus, who prophesied Polyphemus’s blinding by Odysseus. See Homer’s Odyssey IX:506


King of Teuthrantia in Mysia, son of Hercules and the nymph Auge. He was suckled by a deer on Mount Parthenius. He was wounded and healed by the touch of Achilles’s spear atTroy.

Book TI.I:70-128 Augustus like Achilles might heal where he wounded.

Book TII.I:1 Poetry might heal where it too wounded.

Book TV.II:1-44 Needed to be healed by the hand that harmed him.

Book EII.II:1-38 Ibis:251-310 Healed by Achilles’ spear that wounded him. King of the Mysians.


A southern Thracian town near the sea, on the Via Egnatia, the transcontinental road, from where Ovid continued his journey to Tomis overland. He would have disembarked at Salé or Zoné having sailed from Samothrace. Zoné is traditionally where Orpheus enchanted the trees and animals with his lyre.

Book TI.X:1-50 Ovid disembarked there.


Publius Terentius Afer (c195-159BC) an ex-slave from North Africa, born in Carthage, who adapted the plays of Menander and Apollodorus for the Roman stage, often blending material from different plays, in a sophisticated and realistic manner. Six plays are extant.

Book TII:313-360 His character unlike his works.


A Thracian tribe.

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


The king of Thrace, husband of Procne. He brought her sister, Philomela, to stay with her, while conceiving a frenzied desire for the sister. He violated the girl and cut out her tongue, and told Procne she is dead. Procne then served him the flesh of his murdered son Itys at a banquet. Pursuing the sisters in his desire for revenge, he was turned into a bird, the hoopoe,upupa epops, with its distinctive feathered crest and elongated beak. Its rapid, far-carrying, ‘hoo-hoo-hoo’ call is interpreted as ‘pou-pou-pou’ meaning ‘where? where? where?’.

Book TII:361-420 Changed to a bird, through his lust.

Ibis:413-464 The fate of Itys.


The son of Telamon, king of Salamis, and Hesione, half-brother of Ajax the Greater, cousin of Achilles, and one of the greatest of the bowmen at the Trojan war. He was driven into exile by his father for failing to avenge Ajax. Teucer then founded Salamis on Cyprus in memory of his native city.

Book EI.III:49-94 Exiled, he fled to Cyprus, sacred to Venus.


Book TI.II:1-74 The Trojans so called from their first king Teucer, a Cretan.


The Muse of comedy and light verse, used symbolically for poetry in general.

Book TIV.X:41-92 Book TV.IX:1-38 The Muse of Ovid’s early lighter verse.


Ibis:251-310 The poet of Thrace who fell in love with Hyacinthus the Spartan prince. Apollo was a rival for the boy, and hearing Thamyris boast that he rivalled the Muses in song, he told them and Thamyris was blinded by them, and robbed of his voice and memory.

Thebes, Thebae

The oldest and most famous city of Boeotia, founded by Cadmus. The seven-gated city suffered as a result of its support for Persia, but gained power over Boeotia in the Peloponnesian War. The Thebans were at their zenith 371-362BC, when they defeated Sparta under Epaminondes, and until he was killed at the battle of Mantinea dominated the mainland. Destroyed by Alexander the Great after a revolt (335) the city was rebuilt but never regained its former glory.

Book TII:313-360 Attacked by the ‘Seven against Thebes’ see Aeschylus’s play. Eteocles fought against his brother Polynices for control of the city.

Book TIII.III:47-88 Antigone buried her brother Polynices despire King Creon’s forbidding him to be buried.

Book TV.III:1-58 Capaneus was one of the attackers in the War of the Seven Against Thebes.

Book EI.III:49-94 Ibis:413-464 Founded by Cadmus.

Book EIV.VIII:49-90 Famous through the poets.

Ibis:465-540 City of Pentheus.


Son of Neocle. He was the great Athenian leader who defeated the Persians at Salamis. He was exiled c474-472BC.

Book EI.III:49-94 He went to Argos after exile from Athens.


A river in Pontus, frequented by Amazons. The modern Terme Tchai east of the Halys.

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

Theromedon, Therodamas

Scythian chieftain, or alternatively a king of Libya, who fed lions on human flesh. Ovid refers to him in Ibis.

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


An ugly abusive Greek at the Trojan War, killed by Achilles for mocking the latter’s grief over the dead warrior princess Penthesilea.

Book EIII.IX:1-56 Book EIV.XIII:1-50 His ugliness.


King of Athens, son of Aegeus, hence Aegides. His mother was Aethra, daughter of Pittheus king of Troezen. Aegeus had lain with her in the temple. His father had hidden a sword, and a pair of sandals, under a stone (The Rock of Theseus) as a trial, which he lifted, and he made his way to Athens, cleansing the Isthmus of robbers along the way (Periphetes, Sinis, Sciron and Procrustes). He killed the Minotaur with help from Ariadne who gave him the clue that he unwound to mark his trail, subsequently abandoning her. His friendship forPirithous whom he accompanied to the underworld was proverbial.

Book TI.III:47-102 Book TI.V:1-44 Book TI. IX:1-66

Book EII.III:1-48 Book EIV.X:35-84 Proverbial friendship. The visit to the Underworld.

Book TII:361-420 His many love-affairs.

Book TV.IV:1-50 A paragon of friendship. Called Aegides from his father.

Book EIII.II:1-110 His fame lived on.

Book EIV.X:35-84 Albinovanus writing about him.

Ibis:365-412 His cleansing of the brigands from the Isthmus of Corinth.

Ibis:413-464 Possibly Theseus is intended here.

Ibis:465-540 He gave the wrong signal to his father on returning from Crete.


Ibis:251-310 Perhaps Thessalus son of Hercules by Chalciope. Ovid has him leap from Ossa to his death. Alternatively, but less likely given the previous verses concerning Hercules, Thessalus who was a son of Medea, who escaped death after Medea sacrificed her sons on the altar of Jupiter, later reigned over Iolcus, and gave his name to all Thessaly


The region in northern Greece. Its old name was Haemonia, hence Haemonius, Thessalian.

Book EI.III:49-94 Achilles’ homeland, where Patroclus sought refuge.

Book EI.IV:1-58 Pelias was King of Thessaly.

Thoas, Thoans

The king of Lemnos, son of Andraemon, and father of Hypsipyle. Thoas was king 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. He later ruled over the Thracians, when Orestes rescued Iphigenia.

Book TI. IX:1-66 Recognised the loyalty of Pylades to Orestes.

Book TIV.IV:43-88 Book EIII.II:1-110 Ibis:365-412 His kingdom in the Tauric Chersonese.

Thrace, Thracian

Roughly the area including north-east Greece, European Turkey as far as the Bosphorus, and the southern part of Romania. In Ovid’s day the western boundary was on the River Nestus, and the northern along the Haemus range, while its coastline ran from the Macedonian Aegean through Propontis to the Black Sea.

Book TII:207-252 A frontier area. A Thracian rebellion was put down by Lucius Piso in 11AD.

Book TIII.XIV:1-52 The languages of the region.

Book EII.IX:39-80 Though flattering its king, Ovid implies the country is too barbarous for good poetry to be expected from it.

Ibis:135-162 Thracian arrows.

Book EIV.V:1-46 Frozen Thrace.

Ibis:365-412 Diomedes the cruel Thracian king.

Ibis:597-644 The River Strymon in Thrace, hence Thracian.


A poetic name for the River Tiber on which Rome is situated, after King Tiberinus who drowned there.

Book TV.I:1-48 Noted for its yellow sands, carried by the waters.

Ibis:135-162 Its waters.

Ibis:465-540 King Tiberinus drowned there.


The son of Pelops and Hippodamia, brother of Atreus, and father of Aesgithus. The feud between the brothers over the kingship of Mycenae was long and complex, and gave rise to a network of myths. Thyestes committed adultery with Aerope, Atreus’ wife, and Atreus in revenge killed Thyestes’ children, cooked the flesh, and served it to him at a banquet. Later Thyestes’ son Aegisthus killed Atreus, and subsequently Agamemnon.

Book TII:361-420 He raped his sister-in-law Aerope.

Book EIV.VI:1-50 At the time of the fatal banquet the horses of the sun are supposed to have turned his chariot backwards in its course, in horror.

Ibis:311-364 Pelopia his daughter was a priestess at Sicyon. He raped her, while disguised.

Ibis:541-596 The banquet.


A promontory and small town on a bay of the Black Sea coast of Thrace, about thirty miles north of Salmydessos, and somewhat less than two hundred miles south of Tomis.

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


The Emperor, Tiberius Claudius Nero (42BC-37AD), the elder son of Livia by her first husband. Augustus adopted the boy and appointed him as his successor after the early deaths of other candidates. He was also Augustus’s stepson through his marriage to the elder Julia, Augustus’s daughter by Scribonia. Tiberius adopted Germanicus as his son who thus became a brother to the younger Drusus.

Book TII:155-206 Ovid offers a prayer for his safety. Tiberius is still warring in Pannonia.

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

Book TIII. XII:1-54 Ovid hopes for Tiberius’s success on the Rhine. After the loss of Varus and his legions in the Teutoberger Forest defeat of AD9, Tiberius was transferred to Germany and remained there AD10-12 with limited success. His eventual triumph was for the Pannonian campaign and was celebrated 23rd October AD12.

Book TIV.II:1-74 Ovid hopes for his success in Germany, and anticipates the triumph of Germanicus’s war, and Augustus’s strategy.

Book EII.I:68 The delayed celebration of Tiberius’s Pannonian triumph see above. Tiberius’s offerings were to the goddess ‘Justitia Augusta: Augustus’s Justice’.

Book EII.II:39-74 Book EII.VIII:37-76 Tiberius, Augustus’s adopted son and heir apparent.

Book EII.II:75-126 Tiberius’s sons Germanicus (adopted) and Drusus were involved in the pannonian Triumph, attended by the brothers Messalinus and Cotta.

Book EII.VIII:1-36 Cotta Maximus sent Ovid portraits of Augustus, Tiberius and Livia. Even in this eulogy of the Imperial family there is a mischievous sub-text. Tiberius’s character and paternity are touched on.

Book EIII.IV:57-115 Ovid anticipates a second German triumph for Tiberius.

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


Albius Tibullus (c.54- 19BC) the elegiac poet and friend of Ovid, whose patron was Messalla Corvinus. He accompanied Messalla on a campaign in Gaul in 31 for which Messalla celebrated a triumph in 27. His lovers were named Delia (her real name was possibly Plania) and Nemesis in his poems.

Book TII:421-470 Ovid paraphrases parts of Tibullus I:2, I:5 and I:6 in which the poet becomes the victim of the very deceits he had taught his mistress Delia.

Book TIV.X:41-92 Briefly a member of the same poetic circles as Ovid. He followed Gallus in order of seniority.

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


The modern Tivoli, a fashionable resort eighteen miles east-north-east of Rome in a bend of the River Anio as it cascaded into the valley below. It was noted for the beauty of its countryside and its orchards.

Book EI.III:49-94 A pleasant place of exile for ancient Romans.

Ticidas, Ticida

A Roman elegiac poet, contemporary with Catullus, referred to by Messalla in a letter but not under his patronage. He wrote an epithalamium in Catullus’s style as well as epigrams and love poems in which he celebrated his mistress Metella under the pseudonym Perilla.

Book TII:421-470 His love poetry.


The son of Phorbas, a Boeotian and the mythical helmsman of the Argo on the voyage to win the Golden Fleece.

Book TIV.III:49-84 His skill is displayed in rough seas.

Book EI.IV:1-58 Steersman of the Argo.


The Theban sage who spent seven years as a woman and decided the dispute between Juno and Jupiter as to which partner gained more enjoyment in love-making. He was blinded by Juno but given the power of prophecy by Jupiter.

Ibis:251-310 Blinded.


One of the Furies, a symbol of madness.

Book TIV.IX:1-32 Madness.


A shepherd’s name, a symbol of pastoral poetry.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 Written of by Passer(?) a poet in Ovid’s list of his lesser contemporaries.


A giant, son of Ge (Earth) whose home was traditionally located in Euboea, and who attempted violence to Latona (Leto), and suffered in Hades. Vultures fed on his liver, which was continually renewed.

Book EI.II:1-52 Ibis:163-208 His torment.


The Moesian town, on the west (or ‘left’) coast of the Black Sea, to which Ovid was banished, an ancient colony of Miletus (6th century BC). The modern Constantza, Romania’s major port, it is on an elevated and rocky part of the coast, about sixty-five miles southwest of the nearest mouth of the Danube, in that part of Romania called the Dobrudja. The townspeople were a mix of half-breed Greeks and barbarians chiefly of Getic, Indo-European stock. They dressed in skins, wore hair and beard long, and went about armed. They were expert horsemen and archers. The languages spoken were Greek, Getic and Sarmatian. Ovid learnt the language and wrote a poem in Getic. The country round Tomis is flat and marshy. The winters are severe with below zero temperatures (-20 to -30 deg. Fahrenheit). Tomis was a border garrison and subject to constant attack, and Ovid had to play his minor part in its defence.

Book TI.II:75-110 Book TIV.X:93-132 Ovid’s destination is Tomis and its people, in their ‘unknown world’.

Book TI.X:1-50 The Minerva’s destination, and his place of exile.

Book TIII. IX:1-34 The source of Tomis’s name. Ovid uses the tale of how Medea dismembered Absyrtus her brother and scattered his limbs behind their ship. King Aeetes following gathered up the remains. The cutting up (τομή) was a false etymology for the name.

Book TV.VII:1-68 A description of the Getae and the cheerless environment. All things are relative. The contrast in Ovid’s mind is between barbarism and civilisation and that leads him to see the worst side of the region, through his antipathy to its people and 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!

Book EI.I:1-36 Book EIII.IV:1-56 Book EIII.VIII:1-24 His established place of exile.

Book EI.II:53-100 Limited knowledge of the region, in Rome.

Book EI.VI:1-54 Book EIII.1:1-66 He fears being entombed there.

Book EIII.VIII:1-24 The women there have not learnt the art of spinning wool.

Book EIV.IX:89-134 Book EIV.XIV:1-62 The inhabitants of Tomis, whom Ovid here treats with respect.


Book EII.II:39-74 The Thunderer, an epithet of Jupiter.


Book TV.XIII:1-34 Book EIV.XV:1-42 Sicily, the three cornered island.


An Augustan poet who wrote a Perseis.

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


The son of Celeus, king of Eleusis in Attica. Ceres sent him to take the gift of her crops to Lyncus king of the Scythian barbarians. He was attacked, but saved by Ceres. See Metamorphoses Book V:642

Book TIII.VIII:1-42 His chariot.

Book EIV.II:1-50 Patron of the harvest.


An epithet of Diana, worshipped at the meeting of three ways, ‘Diana of the crossroads’.

Book EIII.II:1-110 The Tauric Diana.


Moesian town (modern Iglita) near the Danube just above the delta, and possibly a poem by Sabinus on its capture by Flaccus.

Book EIV.IX:55-88 Re-taken by Flaccus.

Troy, Troad

The ancient city destroyed in the ten-war year with the Greeks, and identified by Schliemann with Hissarlik four miles inland from the Aegean end of the Hellespont. The archaeological evidence would indicate destruction by fire between 1300 and 1200BC. The story of the War is told in Homer’s Iliad, and the aftermath of it and the Greek return in the Odyssey. The Troad is the rocky north-west area of Asia Minor along the Hellespont, dominated by the Ida range, traditionally believed to have been ruled by Troy.

Book TI.II:1-74 Supported and opposed by various gods in the war.

Book TI.III:1-46 Her appearance in defeat.

Book TI.V:45-84 Called Ilium from the citadel of Troy.

Book TII:313-360 Book EIV.XVI:1-52 A suitable subject for epic poetry.

Book TII:361-420 Ganymede of Troy.

Book TIII.V:1-56 Achilles the greatest warrior there.

Book TIV.III:49-84 Hector’s unhappy city.

Book TV.V:27-64 Book TV.XIV:1-46 Protesilaus the first Greek to touch its shore in the Trojan War.

Book TV.X:1-53 The siege and war lasted ten years.

Book EII.II:1-38 Aeneas’s Trojan fleet.

Book EIV.VII:1-54 Ajax at Troy.

Ibis:251-310 A troubled people.


King of the Rutuli in Italy, who opposed Aeneas. His capital was at Ardea, south of Rome, near modern Anzio. See Virgil’s Aeneid, where he loses Lavinia his betrothed to Aeneas and is ultimately killed by him.

Book TI.II:1-74 Supported by Juno.

Book TI. IX:1-66 Euryalus and Nisus died after entering his camp, and he is said to have wept at this death of loyal friends.


An Augustan tragic poet.

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


An Augustan poet who wrote a Phyllis. See Propertius II 22.

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


A friend of Ovid, and an epic poet. He apparently reworked part of the Odyssey in his Phaeacid.

Book EIV.XII:1-50 This letter addressed to him, a childhood friend. Ovid plays with the difficulty of handling the name Tūtĭcānus in elegiac verse. It can only be done by splitting the name or scanning it in ridiculous ways.

Book EIV.XIV:1-62 A second letter addressed to him.

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


The King of Calydon and father of Diomedes, and one of the Seven against Thebes. Mortally wounded he gnawed on the skull and ate the brains of his opponent, incurring Athene’s anger. She allowed him to die for his barbarity, having been prepared to save him and render him immortal.

Book EI.III:49-94 Exiled, he fled to Adrastus at Argos.

Book EII.II:1-38 Diomedes the Greek hero, who wounded Venus and Mars in the Trojan War, was his son.

Ibis:311-364 Diomedes loved Helen whom Tydeus would have blushed to have as a daughter in law.

Ibis:413-464 His fate.


The husband of Leda, hence her children are the Tyndaridae. (Castor and Pollux, Helen, Clytemnestra)

Book TI.X:1-50 Book EI.VII:1-70 The Gemini, Castor and Pollux, worshipped at Samothrace.

Book TII:361-420 Clytemnestra, a daughter of Tyndareus.

Ibis:311-364 Agamemnon, husband of Clytemnestra was his son-in-law.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 Subject of a poem by one of Ovid’s lesser contemporaries.


One of the Giants who attacked the gods, who was buried beneath Sicily by Jupiter.

Book EII.X:1-52 Buried beneath Sicily.


Sarmatian river, the Dniester.

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


The city of the Phoenicians in the Lebanon famed for its purple dyes used on clothing, obtained from the murex shell-fish. Once an island harbour, subsequently linked to the mainland.

Book TII:497-546 Carthage was a Phoenician colony, and Dido its mythical queen was from Tyre.


Ulixes, the Greek Odysseus, the son of Laertes, and King of Ithaca. Present at the Trojan War, and most cunning and resilient of the Greek leaders, the tale of his return home is told inHomer’s Odyssey. His wife was the faithful Penelope, and his son Telemachus.

Book TI.II:1-74 Pursued by Neptune-Poseidon.

Book TI.V:45-84 Book TIII. XI:39-74 Book EIV.X:1-34 Ovid compares his troubles to those of Ulysses.

Book TV.V:1-26 Likewise separated from his wife, Penelope.

Book TV.V:27-64 His wife’s response to his fate brought about her fame.

Book EIII.1:1-66 Made more famous by his fate.

Book EIII.VI:1-60 Ibis:251-310 Helped by Leucothea.

Book EIV.XIV:1-62 He delighted in his native Ithaca but had a difficult return home.

Book EIV.XVI:1-52 His letters home written by poet in Ovid’s list of his lesser contemporaries, presumably in imitation of Ovid’s Heroides.

Ibis:541-596 He was reputedly killed, by Telegonus, with a spear armed with the spine of a sting-ray.


The district of Italy north of Rome, extending from Etruria to the Adriatic and north to the Po valley.

Book EI.VIII:1-70 Severus’s homeland.


Lucius Varius Rufus, an Augustan poet known for tragedy and epic.

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


Publius Terentius Varro Atacinus born 82BC in Gallia Narbonensis near the modern Carcassone. He translated or adapted Apollonius Rhodius’s Argonautica. He wrote an epic dealing with Caesar’s campaign against the Sequani in 58. He also wrote erotic elegies addressed to Leucadia.

Book TII:421-470 His tale of the Argo.


The Goddess of Love. The daughter of Jupiter and Dione. She is Aphrodite, born from the waves, an incarnation of Astarte, Goddess of the Phoenicians. The mother of Cupid by Mars. (See Botticelli’s painting – Venus and Mars – National Gallery, London). Through her union with Anchises she was the mother of Aeneas and therefore putative ancestress to the Julian House.

Book TI.II:1-74 Friendly to the Trojans. Protected Aeneas, her son.

Book TII:253-312 Mother of Aeneas by Anchises. Her statue in the temple of Mars.

Book TII:361-420 Famously caught in the act with Mars, by Hephaestus (Vulcan) her husband.

Book TII:497-546 Book EIV.I:1-36 Shown rising from the waves, as in the famous painting by Apelles. There is also a sexual double entendre here.

Book EI.III:49-94 The island of Cyprus was sacred to her.

Book EI.X:1-44 Synonymous with sexual activity.

Book EIII.1:105-166 Ovid suggests the now aged Livia had the beauty of Venus.

Ibis:209-250 In astrology a beneficent planet, ruling wealth, love etc.

Ibis:541-596 Insulted, she made Hippolytus fall in love with Phaedra.

Vergilius, Virgil

Publius Vergilius Maro (70-19BC), bucolic and epic poet, author of the Eclogues, Georgics, and the Aeneid, the story of Aeneas’s flight from Troy and the origins of Rome. Virgil was born near Mantua and educated at Cremona and Rome. He became Augustus’s ‘offical’ poet, and supported Augustus’s ideas of national regeneration and agricultural reform. He was a close friend of Maecenas and introduced Horace to the Imperial circle.

Book TII:497-546 Ovid plays with the opening words of the Aeneid, ‘Arma virumque cano: I sing of arms and the man’. He refers to Aeneas’s love affair with the Tyrian Queen of Carthage, Dido.

Book TIV.X:41-92 Ovid saw him but did not meet him.

Book EIII.IV:57-115 The type of the epic poet.


The daughter of Saturn, the Greek Hestia. The goddess of fire. The ‘shining one’. Every hearth had its Vesta, and she presided over the preparation of meals and was offered first food and drink. Her priestesses were the six Vestal Virgins. Her chief festival was the Vestalia on 9th June. The Virgins took a strict vow of chastity and served for thirty years. They enjoyed enormous prestige, and were preceded by a lictor when in public. Breaking of their vow resulted in whipping and death. There were twenty recorded instances in eleven centuries. A name also for the Tauric Diana at Nemi who ‘married’ her high priest the ‘king of Rome’, e.g. Julius Caesar. See Fraser’s ‘The Golden Bough’ Ch1 et seq.

Book TIII.I:1-46 Vesta’s Temple contained the Palladium, the image of Pallas, sacred to the Trojans. The Vestal Virgins tended the sacred flame within the temple, which was not supposed to be quenched.

Book TIV.II:1-74 The Vestal Virgins, living in ‘perpetual’ chastity.

Book EIV.XIII:1-50 Livia compared to Vesta.


The grandson of Gaius Iulius Donnus a Celtic chieftain reigning over Ligurian tribes. The son of Marcus Julius Cottius a native prince. He took service with the Romans and probably served with Publius Vitellius, (praetor in AD14, close friend of Germanicus, and his legate on the Rhine, present at Germanicus’s death in Antioch, and prosecutor of Gnaeus Piso), at the capture of Aegisos (Tulcea) in 12AD. He was later sent to Thrace on an Imperial mission, and was possibly prefect of the Pontus coast.

Book EIV.VII:1-54 A figure with authority and local knowledge.


The goddess of victory. After the battle of Actium, and the subsequent death of Cleopatra, Octavian (Augustus) erected a statue of Victory in the Curia Julia (built in honour of Julius Caesar), a statue that had belonged to the people of Tarentum. He decorated it with spoils from Egypt.

Book TII:155-206 Ovid prays for her attendance on Tiberius’s campaign in Pannonia.


The Aqua Virgo was an aqueduct constructed by Agrippa and opened in 19BC to provide a water supply for the public baths he was building: it entered the city from the north and ran as far as the Campus Martis.  The source by the Via Collatina was supposed to have been revealed by a young girl. The opening took place on the 9th June the feast-day of Vesta and the spring may have in fact been dedicated to her. Agrippa dubbed it Augusta, which pleased Augustus. (Cassius Dio, The Roman History 54.11)

Book TIII. XII:1-54 Book EI.VIII:1-70 Mentioned.


Publius Vitellius, praetor in AD14, a friend of Germanicus, proconsul of Bithynia in 18 or 19AD. He may be the Vitellius who regained Aegisos. Present at Germanicus’s death in Antioch he helped to prosecute Gnaius Piso over that suspicious event. He later attempted suicide after being implicated in Sejanus’s conspiracy.

Book EIV.VII:1-54 Victor at Aegisos.


The companion of Titus Tatius and founder of the Valerian family to which Messalla Corvinus belonged. Volesus may be the Sabine form of Valerius.

Book EIII.II:1-110 Cotta’s ancestry.


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

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

Book TIII. XII:1-54 The spring wind.


The Zerynthian cave of Hecate was on the northern coast of Samothrace, and gave its name to that shoreline.

Book TI.X:1-50 Ovid changed ships there.