Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Ovid’s City: Rome in the Ars Amatoria and the Fasti
by Kindick, Samuel Louis, Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2020, 217; 27735721
Abstract (Summary)

This project examines the function of the city of Rome in Ovid’s Ars Amatoria and Fasti. In doing so, it focuses on the ways in which Ovid plays with concepts and expectations of genre and gender in his depictions of Rome. As Ovid’s two major didactic elegies, the Ars Amatoria and the Fasti, which have not been considered together in any substantial way, present an excellent opportunity to demonstrate that the function of Rome is not static within Ovid’s poetry. Both poems are set in the city and prominently feature its monuments, but in each, Rome functions as a reflection of the poem’s poetic and generic ethos.

The Ars Amatoria addresses the people of Rome specifically and throughout the poem Rome’s monuments are used as reference points to situate the poem in the city. Ovid takes his reader on a journey through Rome to find a girlfriend, using different monuments to represent different stages in the reader’s developing sexual relationship. Most of the monuments in the Ars Amatoria are new and reflect the imperial grandeur of contemporary Rome rather than the city’s austere history.

In contrast, the Rome of the Fasti has more in common with the contemporary Rome of Metamorphoses 15 and the proto-contemporary Rome of Aeneid 8 than it does with its generic brothers. And yet, it is not the exact same Rome featured in the Augustan epics. Instead, the Rome of the Fasti is populated with characters and episodes from the realm of epic, particularly from the Aeneid, but in the Fasti they operate differently than they did in their epic incarnations. The opening of the Fasti provides a brief glimpse of contemporary Rome, similar to the Romes of the Metamorphoses and Aeneid, but then Ovid quickly unbuilds the city through the now/then comparison. Over the course of the poem the city is slowly built up, from a scattering of huts to a fully-developed walled city, and then is rebuilt, as older buildings are replaced with newer ones until the contemporary imperial city, which is both Augustan and Ovidian, is complete.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Newlands, Carole E
Commitee: Elliott, Jackie, Köster, Isabel, Lansford, Tyler, Knox, Peter
School: University of Colorado at Boulder
Department: Classics
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI 81/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Classical literature
Keywords: Ars Amatoria, Elegy, Fasti, Latin poetry, Ovid, Rome
Publication Number: 27735721
ISBN: 9798645452889
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