In response to being exiled to the Black Sea by the Roman emperor Augustus in 8 AD, Ovid began to compose the
Epistulae ex Ponto and to create for himself a place of intellectual refuge. From there he was able to reflect out loud on how and why his own art had been legally banned and left for dead on the margins of the empire. As the last of the Augustan poets, Ovid was in a unique position to take stock of his own standing and of the place of poetry itself in a culture deeply restructured during the lengthy rule of Rome's first emperor. This study considers exile in the
Epistulae ex Ponto as a place of genuine suffering and a metaphor for poetry's marginalization from the imperial city. It analyzes, in particular, Ovid's representation of himself and the emperor Augustus against the background of Roman religion, law, and poetry.
Matthew M. McGowan, Ph.D. (2002) in Classics, New York University, is Assistant Professor of Classics at Fordham University in New York City. His research focuses on Latin poetry, ancient religion, and the classical tradition.
McGowan demonstrates throughout the book that he is a careful and close reader, and repeatedly points out the multiplicity of interpretations available to readers in each of these poems. [...]
McGowan’s most valuable contribution in this book is his analysis of the often avoided, and notoriously challenging, figure of Augustus which Ovid creates in these texts. Thus, McGowan’s work will be of use not only to scholars who study Ovid, but also to those who study imperial ideology; for these texts remain one of the few primary sources written about the emperor during this period." Sanjaya Thakur in
All those interested in Greek & Latin literature, Augustan poetry, exile literature, and the classical tradition, as well as specialists in comparative literature, and historians of Roman religion and law