Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti

Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family


Ovid’s Fasti offers multifocal views of Augustan religion to convey ambivalences, inconsistencies and paradoxes in the imperial family’s religious agenda. Darja Šterbenc Erker explores Ovid's irreverent and ambiguous presentations of calendrical aeitiologies, deifications and imperial gods that humorously call to mind Arachne’s tapestry depicting faulty gods and that stand in sharp contrast to the poet’s more serious discussions of the values he cherishes, such as freedom and poetic immortality. Especially in the exilic revisions of the poem, Ovid emphasises the motif of bestowing divine honours upon mortals through poetry. For him, the stars in the heavens do not represent deified statesmen but immortal authors.
Darja Šterbenc Erker, Ph.D. (2001), Habil. (2007) is Adjunct Professor and Research Fellow at the Humboldt University Berlin and at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia). She has published numerous articles, three edited volumes and two monographs, including Religiöse Rollen römischer Frauen in “griechischen” Ritualen, Steiner, 2013.
List of Figures

Introduction: Why Read the Fasti as an Elegiac Reflection on Augustan Religious Innovations?

Part 1 Religious Self-Legitimation of the domus Augusta

1 Inventing Ambivalent Aetiologies of the Concordia Augusta
 1 From Antiquarian to Elegiac Inquiry into the Past Religious Traditions of Rome
 2 The Goddess Concordia: Past and Present
 3 Livia and Concordia
 4 Elegiac Play with Political and Familial Concordia
 5 The Etymology of June and Ovid as an Impartial Judge
 6 Conclusion: Ovid’s Invention of Concordia Augusta Aetiologies

2 The Pax Augusta
 1 From Marble, Painted or Book Calendar to Ovid’s Fasti
 2 Intermedial Shifts: From Ara Pacis Augustae to Ovid’s Aetiological Elegy
 3 The Pax Augusta Born out of Imperial Triumphs
 4 From Augustus’ Closing the Doors of Janus’ Temple to Ovid’s Janus
 5 Ovidian Conception of Peace
 6 Conclusion: Contesting the Pax Augusta

Part 2 Deification

3 Catasterisms and Deifications
 1 The Transmission of Hellenistic Deification from Alexandria to Rome
 2 Augustus and Deification
 3 Germanicus as Divine Protector and Other Deifications in Ovid’s Fasti
 4 Germanicus as a Fellow Poet
 5 Germanicus and the Immortality of the Poets
 6 Conclusion: Poetic Deifications

4 Romulus’ Apotheosis as Model for Julius Caesar’s and Augustus’ Deification
 1 Romulus’ Calendar Failure
 2 Apotheosis of Romulus
 3 Do Divine Origins Pave the Way for the Apotheosis?
 4 Playing with Deifications
 5 Cicero on Julius Proculus’ Vision of the Epiphany of Romulus
 6 Livy’s Account of Romulus’ Epiphany
 7 Dionysius’ Romulus-Quirinus: Addressee of a Hero Cult
 8 Ovid’s Ambivalent Representation of Romulus’ Epiphany as the God Quirinus
 9 Deifications and Stultorum Festa
 10 Untrustworthy Narrator and Imperial Deifications
 11 Reception of the Ovidian Narrator in Early Imperial Literature

5 The Aetiology of Servius Tullius and Fortuna
 1 Elegiac Cultural Memories of Fortuna’s Temple
 2 Augustus’ Divinity and His Divine Ancestors
 3 Fortuna and Servius Tullius
 4 Conspiring for the Throne
 5 Conclusion: Ovid’s Competing Cultural Memories of Rome

Part 3 Ambiguities in Augustus’ Religion

6 Augustus’ Religious Self-Fashioning
 1 Augustus’ Attempts to Approach the Sphere of Gods and Good Rulers
 2 Augustus’ Accumulation of Priesthoods
 3 Augustus’ Restoration of Roman Religion
 4 Augustus’ Honorific Titles
 5 Conclusion: Augustus’ Divine Charisma

7 Ambiguity of Augustus’ Religious Innovations
 1 Augustus and the Goddess Vesta
 2 The Lares and Genius Augusti
 3 Innovations within the Lares Compitales Cult
 4 Conclusion: The Ambiguity of Augustus’ Gods and Religious Innovations


The book is of immediate interest for specialists and students in Classics, Ancient History and History of Ancient Religions and the academic libraries for these subject areas.
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