1 OVID AUGUSTUS, AND THE EXILIC JOURNEY IN THE TRISTIA AND EPISTULAE EX PONTO By THOMAS GEORGE HENDREN A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013
2 2013 Thomas George Hendren
3 For Gary and Cindy
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I started this project piecemeal in a number of graduate seminars on Latin epic and elegy at the University of Florida. I owe innumerable thanks to my advisor, Jennifer Rea: I have benefited from her patience and willingness to read (and reread) since my very first graduate course, in the f all of 2007. My committee members Victoria Pagn, Gonda Van Steen, and Stephanie Smith provided excellent revisions, corrections and fruitful points of discussion. I am very grateful to audiences at UF and elsewhere at the APA and CAMWS who enter t ained my larger obses sion with all things metapoetic and encouraged my nascent ideas. I must also thank Gareth Williams for his engaging conversation and insightful comments on my second chapter. Any mistakes, infelicities, and errores are of course my own. To my compatriots in the Classics Department, James Lohmar, Megan Daly, Bob Brewer, Seth Boutin, Jeff Yeakel, and David Hoot: not only have you provided guidance and advice; as model students and teachers you set a high bar for my own academic accomplishments Thank you all for hours of support, both scholarly and friendly I th ank my fiance, Madison, who listened intently to my endless brainstorming, no matter how far fetched. And f inally, I thank my parents, Cindy and Gary Hendren: w hen I questioned myself, you supported me, and when I succeeded you pushed me to work harder. T hank you for everything
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................. 4 ABSTRACT ..................................................................................................................... 7 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................... 9 Ovids carmen et error ............................................................................................ 14 Politics and Literature in Augustan Rome ............................................................... 19 2 POETRY AND SAILING IN THE TRISTIA AND EPISTULAE EX PONTO ............. 31 Thematic Adaptations: Jason and the Argonauts ................................................... 35 Metapoetic Adaptations: The Vocabulary of Sailing ................................................ 42 Seafaring Language in Ovid ................................................................................... 46 Compositional Metaphor as a Political Tool in Ovids Exilic Letters ........................ 54 3 THE PONTIC UNIVERSE ....................................................................................... 64 The Pontic Sky ........................................................................................................ 66 The Pontic Sea ....................................................................................................... 72 The Pontic Earth ..................................................................................................... 77 The Pontic Populace ............................................................................................... 82 4 OVIDS AUDIENCE AND THE EMPEROR IN THE EXILIC EPISTLES .................. 90 Letters to Philoi and Sophoi : Cotta ( P. 2.3) and Messalinus ( P. 2.2) ...................... 9 9 Poet, Emperor, and Sophoi ................................................................................... 111 Letters to Sophoi in ex Ponto 4 ............................................................................. 117 5 CONCLUSIONS ................................................................................................... 126 Destabilization of the Physical Environment ......................................................... 128 Destabilization of Language and Art ..................................................................... 130 LIST OF REFERE NCES ............................................................................................. 136 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................... 149
6 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS CIL Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum OCD3 Hornblower, S., and Spawforth, A., edd. Oxford Classical Dict ionary 3rd edition. (Oxford, 1996 ) OLD Glare, P.G.W., et al. edd. Oxford Latin Dictionary (Oxford, 1968 1982) PIR2 Klebs, E.; Dessau, H.; and Rohden, P. von, edd. Prosopographia Imperii Romani 2nd edition. (Berlin Leipzig, 1933). PMG Page, D.L. ed. Po etae Melici Graec i (Oxford, 1962) RE Wissowa G., et al. edd. Paulys Real Encyclopdie der classichen Altertumwissenschaft ( Stuttgart 1894 1975 ) TLL Thesaurus Linguae Latinae Journals are abbreviated according to the conventions of LAnne Philologique. Abbreviations of the ancient authors derive from the OCD, OLD, and LSJ
7 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy OVID AUGUSTUS, AND THE EXILIC JOURNEY IN THE TRISTIA AND EPISTULAE EX PONTO By Thomas George Hendren May 2013 Chair: Jennifer Rea Major: C lassical Studies Ovids extensive references to act of writing poetry both the superficial self deprecating claims t o poetic decline, as well as the thinly veiled proclamations of poetic novelty and genius, remain major points of scholarly contention. By reevaluating Ovids persiste nt focus on his own poetic act through various metapoetic devices, this project reconsiders Ovid s literary response to exile and his strategy of rebalancing his own political position opposite the emperor within the eyes of the Roman elite Based on the assumption that at least part of Ovids exile was the result of his offensive Ars Amatoria ( Tr. 2.211 12) I argue that Ovids fantastic depiction of his own exilic journey and of the Pontic region is in fact an enactment of the emperors misguided reading, which mistook the poems narrator for the poet himself. This accounts for Ovids mixture of poetry and reality in exile: indeed, he merges fiction and history to such an extent that judicious scholars continue to question the authenticity of the entire debacle. Ovids rewriting of the exilic journey as a novel poetic undertaking and his dream like descriptions of Tomis and the Pontic landscape break down the barriers between poetry and history, and thus between narrator and poet. In doing so, Ovid not only mocks the emperor as a malus
8 interpres unfit to stand for R oman aristo cratic values, bu t aggrandizes his own poetic accomplishments. This project attempts a new, unified reading of the exilic epistles, one which incorporates Ovids literary and political responses to exile. My reexamination of Ovids dissimulation in Tomis as well as his sta nce of poetic degredation addresses not only Ovids exilic lies, but also the nearly two millennia of intellectual exile he suffered at the hands of the scholarly community who, until the midtwentieth century, rejected the final third of his work as sycop hantic, redundant complaint.
9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Second only to the mystery of Ovids exile,1 in terms of interest to literary critics, is the relationship that Ovid presents between himself and the emperor in his exilic epistles, the Tristia and Epis tulae ex Ponto. The self contradictory nature of that relationship continues to beguile even the most seasoned readers:2 it allows Ovid, for example, to claim that his life was preserved by the emperors leniency3 and simultaneously consider exile a death sentence.4 This type of dissimulation5 creates a subtext of power struggle between the exile and the emperor:6 Augustus has exercised his power of life and death over the poet,7 and it remains for the poet to employ his 1 The title of Thibault (1964), which remains fundamental when considering the theories proposed for Ovids exile. 2 See Williams (1994: 2) who catalogues Ovids large scale deception in great detail. 3 Tr. 1.1.19 20, 2.125 8, 5.4.19 22, 5.9.11 14; P 4.5.31 2, etc. 4 Called the debit or vitaemotif by Helzle (1989: 131). Tr 1.1.117, 1.3, 1.4.27 8, 1.7.35, 3.3.53 4, 3.14.20; P 1.1.65 6, 1.5.85 6, 1.7.9 10, 1.9.17 18, 2.3.3 4, 3.4.75 6, 4.15.3 4, etc. 5 For the term see Williams (1994); I use it a s a blanket expression for points at w hich Ovid appears to contradict himself in the process of creating an ironic subtext. On the fictional qualities of the verse epistle itself, see Rosenmeyer (1997) and (2001); Gaertner (2007: 168 72). 6 I will not argue that Ovid posed any political opposi tion to Augustus on which see Boissier (1909); Kennedy (1992); Davis (2006). I follow Raaflaub and Samons (1993: 448 54), Oliensis (2004: 286), McGowan (2009: 2 3) and others, in that political opposition may not have existed in the modern sense under A ugustus, and that subversive irony played to the expectations of Ovids elite audience, undermining the position of Augustus and elevating that of the poet. 7 The manner in which Augustus exercised power has been increasingly shown to reflect his republica n ideologies, rather than monarchic pretensions. Following Galinsky, I focus on Augustus auctoritas or his mutually accepted influence on the Roman state, for which see R.G. 34 with Galinsky (1998: 11 16); Gurval (1998). For Augustus republicanism, and the pervasiveness of republicanism even after Actium: Kennedy (1992: 26 58); Cooley (2009); Welch (2012); cf. Kienast (1999) whose title is exemplary ( Augustus: Prinzeps und Monarch); Fantham (2003); McGowan (2009: 21): in theory the republic continued to exist; in practice the political workings of the state were conducted in an unprecedented fashion so that Rome became an upstart monarchy wrapped in republican garb, both of which can be read as extensions of Symes (1939) interpretation of Augustus as a sinister autocrat.
10 creative power in response. This m ajor point of contention forms the starting point of the present study: why does Ovid misrepresent the reality of his exile in his poetic epistles? In what follows I will propose a new, unified interpretation of the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto based on the significance of metapoetry as a tool to respond to Ovids exilic sentence. I will argue that his self contradiction (I use the blanket term lies) and his pose of poetic decline8 must be read in coordination with his frequent metapoetic conceits: by c onfating author and narrator, Ovid creates a universe that is, by necessity, simultaneously fictit ious and factual. The resulting effect is both an artistic accomplishment and political statement:9 Ovids exilic epistles pervert and ridicule Augustus imperial condemnation. The emperor failed to recognize the distinction between Ovid the poet and the narrators persona in the Ars Amatoria and so banished the poet: Ovids downfall is the product of a mala interpretatio .10 By completely mingling poetry and reality in his exilic corpus, Ovid merges his physical person and his poetic persona in a way similar to Augustus misguided reading. In doing so, he plays out the role for which he was ostensibly exiled. First I will demonstrate how Ovid employs 8 Luck (1961: esp. 243 61) is seminal to our understanding of Ovids self deprecation. His position is picked up in Kenney (1965); Nagle (1980); Claassen (1986: 53 273); Helzle (1987); Williams (1994: 50 99); Green (2005: 350); Stevens (2009). 9 Following the figured speech of Ahl (1984). 10 Tr. 2.211 12. Cf. the similar, albeit limited, argumentation of Barchiesi (1993); Davis (1999); Ingleheart (2010) who focus on Tristia 2 as a didactic work meant to correct (or at least highlight) t he emperors misunderstanding of Latin elegy. Catullus played on such a distinction in poem 16, and the ability to assume various personae was a fundamental aspect of archaic Greek verse (e.g. Archilochus fr. 1 W.). In general see Navaud (2011); for succes sful applications to satire see Kernan (1962), Anderson (1982) and Braund (1996); cf. Clay (1998); on rhetorical personae see most recently Gurin (2009) and (2011). Persona theory is particularly important in Ovids amatory works: see Weiden Boyd (1998: i ntr. and 132 64). Caution in application is crucial: as Rosen (2007) points out, while persona theory has been highly successful in reminding readers that we need not necessarily hear a poets autobiography every time he speaks with his own voice in a p oem, it actually does not fully solve the problem of how to interpret the satirists voice; it merely defers it and makes it more complicated, cf. Gildenhard and Zissos (2000); OHara (2007: 42 4) on Miller (2004: 50 2). This complication is precisely what Ovid plays on in his merging of poetry and reality in the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto
11 composition al metaphor to mingle poetry and reality and elevate his act of writing .11 The politically shameful journey to Tomis is transformed into a series of narratives that collapse the distance between poetry and reality, and in so doing inaugurate the poet into t he lofty company of Homer, Apollonius, Catullus, and Vergil. The fundamental consequence of this reading is a direct violation of Augustus attempt through the imposition of exilic instability, to silence the poet Second, I will evaluate Ovids perversion of the Tomitan countryside. Every facet of Ovids exilic universe functions not only as a manifestation of his own misery, as others have argued,12 but also as a physical barrier to poetic production, futher blur r ing the line between history and poetry, a nd again increasing the depth of the poets accomplishment in writing successful verse from exile. Finally I reconsider Ovids shifting audience and the ever present specter of Augustus and the imperial family.13 I will demonstrate that Ovids persiste nt focus on the poetic act was extremely ironic, and would have thus appealed to the Roman elite from whom the emperor derived his authority T his strategy reveals an extreme deficit between the poets genius and the emperors failure as a reader alienating t he princeps from his own power base. In Ovids universe, Augustus betrays his own philistine understanding of Roman literature by banishing its greatest living poet. Ovid responded by delivering the type of verse his malus interpres originally (mis)read, t hat which does not distinguish poet from narrator. Within this frame of reference, Ovid includes frequent allusions to his own poetic genius 11 Cf. the similar argumentation of Claassen (1988) and Shaw (1994), who stress the triumph of Ovids verse, with which he inducts himself into the mythological worl d. 12 Claassen (1999: 190); Williams (1994: 12 25). 13 Ovid, I shall argue, creates a primary distinction between his friends ( philoi ) and fellow intellectuals ( sophoi ), both of whom, unlike the emperor, understand the extent of his poetic genius.
12 that undercut exilic silence. The entire image is then buried beneath obsequious pleas and endless lament, further evidence for the type of poetry that a misguided Hellenistic monarch would enjoy.14 Ovid frame d his interaction with the emperor in such a way as to maintain his own poetic authority at Augustus expense. In fact, the very artistry with which he renders his mingling of poetry and reality within addresses to the Roman populace and even the emperor himself becomes evidence in support of a recall. Because Ovid incorporated himself into the fiction of his exilic letters he was able to sidestep the flagrant poli tical imbalance between himself and the emperor, force his readership to recognize his unique literary brilliance, and highlight the emperors failure to acknowledge that genius This project, then, will focus on how Ovid the poet describes his own poetic act, an important point of departure for scholarly discourse because Ovids representation of his own poetry in exile has been shown to be less than honest.15 Just as Ovids selective vocabulary will be key in elucidating his actual opinions of poetry in ex ile, so too will I employ a limited technical vocabulary to discuss the intersection between Ovids poetry and the reality he experienced in Tomis. Foremost among these concepts is Ovids use of metapoetry :16 a poem or poetic device that has as its thematic subject 14 Flattery of a monarch became something of a topos for bad verse in the Roman adoption of Hellenistic aesthetics: such is the opinion, for example, of Alexander the Greats court poets Agis and Choerilus. See Hor. Ep. 2.1.232 4; Festus De Verb. Sig. 360.10 11 ( quam malus Homerus, tam bonus Choerilus poeta est ); Porphyry ad Hor. A.P. 357 ( pessimus poeta); RE s.v. Agis, Choirilos. 15 On the sincerity of Ovids self deprecation see esp. Luck (1961: 243 61); Kenney (1965); Claassen (1986: 53 273); Nagle (1980); Willi ams (1994: 50 99); Green (2005: 350). 16 Arguably a subset of another term employed here, metaliterature. For individual moments of metapoetry, I employ the technical expression compositional metaphor. The adjectival forms I use are limited to metapoet ic and metaliterary, and should be considered interchangeable concepts for the purposes of this project.
13 the act of composing poetry itself.17 Side by side with Ovids use of metapoetry exist his frequent intertextual allusion s: these situate the poets self referentiality within the context of poetry itself assuring an association not merely with the poetic act, but with the highest accomplishments of that act.18 This rereading of Ovidian allusion and metapoetry will focus on how it reestablishes and manipulates his relationship with the emperor, in the eyes of his erudite Roman audience. The self ref erential nature of these images appealed to the elite and well educated within Ovids audience, and, as I shall argue, degraded the emperors role in the ir eyes by replaying his fundamental misconceptions about Latin verse. Since the conceptual elite of Rome play s an important role for this project, I must be specific: I do not limit my use of the terms aristocrat or elite, to the Roman senate or patrician 17 Much ink has been shed on metapoetic topics in ancient literature: Wyke (1987); Hinds (1987b); Scheid and Svenbro (2001); Braund (2002: 207 24); i n general, West (2007). I rely on the foundation provided by Cairns (1972) and Lieberg (1982: 172) that Ovid and later poets engaged in a standard convention whereby the author of a poem can describe himself as doing what he is writing about (Masters 1992: 6). Quite a bit can be found on Medieval, Renaissance, Romantic and Modern/Postmodern literature, as a reflex of the ancient tradition: see McGavin (2000: 170 206); Mller Zettlemann (2005: 125 46 ), and esp. 122 on the issue of metapoetry in the Medieva l period. 18 A number of studies have considered Ovidian intertextuality in the exilic epistles, e.g. Hinds (1985); Williams (1994); in general see Hinds (1998). I reevaluate this intertextuality in light of an over arching metapoetic function: references t o the poetic act of previous, well known authors solidify the metaliterary focus of a passage. One might compare Billy Collins Sonnet (2002: 146) which not only describes the act of writing a sonnet, but in its final lines alludes to the structures inv entor, Petrarch (in his Sparse Rime ), and his own act of composition for Laura: All we need is fourteen lines, well, thirteen now, and after this one just a dozen to launch a little ship on love's storm tossed seas, then only ten more left like rows of beans. How easily it goes unless you get Elizabethan and insist the iambic bongos must be played and rhymes positioned at the ends of lines, one for every station of the cross. But hang on here w h ile we make the turn into the final six where all will be resol ved, where longing and heartache will find an end, where Laura will tell Petrarch to put down his pen, take off those crazy medieval tights, blow out the lights, and come at last to bed.
14 classes though these were the most likely to effect Ovids return from exile. Instead, they are meant to imply any reader within Ovids audience who could afford (or had received) the type of education necessary to pick up on both his characteristic self awareness and frequent intertexual allusions to, for example, the Metamorphoses Aeneid, Argonau tica or Homeric epics. Ovids target audience was as much the political as the intellectual aristocracy, whether plebeian or patrician. To rebalance his relationship with Augustus, he addressed the entirety of educated Roman society on his own terms, that of literary accomplishment and appreciation. Ovids carmen et error We know little regarding the actual circumstances of Ovids exile.19 He was banished to Tomis,20 modern Romania, in 8 C.E. 21 by Augustus for what 19 For compendiums of the various theories and evidence see Appel (1872); Thibault (1964: 125 9, passim); della Corte (1973: 63 9); Green (1982: 202 20); Claassen (1987); Luisi and Berrino (2008). I consider Ovids exile historical fact (Pliny N.H. 32.54 and CIL 4.10595 provide possible tangible evidence, cf. P. 3.5.1 4, where the place of exile indicates the poets name) despite the skepticism of, e.g. Hartman (1905) and Fitton Brown (1985). For their fiktionsthese see Claassen (1994: 109); Chwalek (1996); Oliensis (2004: 319). I follow, e.g. White (2002: 11 12) on the suppression of topical details to direct attention instead to his literary engagement with poetic predecessors. 20 The official label, according to Ovid was relegatus ( Tr. 1.7.8, 2.135 8; Ib. 11 12), though exul was more frequently used (26 times and exilium 20 times vs. relego 10 times) and often in programmatic situations ( Tr. 1.1.3; P. 1.1.22). Although exile was frequently voluntary for capital criminals in the republic (Garnsey 1970: 111 22; cf. OCD3 s.v. Exile, Roman, and Relegation); relegatio also existed by force, and under Augustus it was specifically reserved for adulterers (Paul. Sentent 2.26.14), e.g. the two Julias, Agrippa Postumus (Tac. Ann. 1.53; Suet. Aug. 65.1 4), and, of course, Ovid himself. For the legal distinction see [Paul] Dig 48 .1.2; Mommsen (1889: 964 80); StrachanDavidson (1912: 2.64 74). For these citations and others see Ingleheart (2010: 153 4). One must be careful not to confuse the relegatio and exilium reserved for adultery with Augustus novel use of relegatio ad insulam for Ovids contemporaries: see Cohen (2008). 21 Ovid records Augustus death (19 Aug. 14 C.E. ) in the fifth year of his exile ( P. 4.6.5 6, 15 16 ) thus the first year in Tomis was 9 C.E. and his sentence was delivered in 8 C.E. This corroborates Ovids ow n testimony concerning the date of his birth (20 Mar. 43 B.C.E., Tr. 4.10.11 14; Fasti 3.813) and the age at which he was exiled, 50 ( Tr. 4.8.33 4, 4.10.95 8). The traditional chronology is as follows: Tr. 1 5: 9 12 B.C.E.; P. 1 3: 13 B.C.E.; P 4: 14 16 B .C.E.: see OCD3 s.v. Ovid; f or the dates of Ovids life and of individual poems see Syme (1978: 1 47); McGowan (2009: 5 n. 19).
15 the poet calls only a carmen et error ( Tr. 2.207 8).22 He refers to the former frequently: the Ars Amatoria of 2 B.C.E.,23 but the latter has become something of fodder for conspiracy theorists.24 From Ovid s own vague clues the reader can divine that he saw something he was not supposed to ( Tr 2.103 10, 3.5.49 50) and failed to report it ( Tr. 3.6.11 16). Two schools of thought have emerged concerning the relationship between the Ars and Ovids error: S ome believe that Ovids poetry was wholly to blame for his downfall.25 They cite the lex Iulia de adulteriis coercendis of 18 B.C.E. ,26 which condemned adulterers to banishment (and for women a severe loss of property) as well as anyone acting as an accessory.27 By this logic Ovids punishment fits his crime The 22 The terminology Ovid uses is instructive: he frequently refers to what his mistake was not i.e. a scelus ( Tr. 1.2.100, 4.4. 37) or a facinus ( Tr. 1.1.97 8; P .1.7.40; 4.4.43 4), nor was it nefas ( P. 2.2.15 16). Instead, his error ( Tr. 2.109 10) was a culpa ( Tr. 1 .2.64) and a vitium ( Tr.4.8.49 50), committed by a stultus ( Tr. 1.2.99 100), non sapiens and timidus poet ( P. 2.2.17 18). Thibault (1964: 36 7) and Nagle (1995) raise the possibility that there to was no error at all, rather that carmen et error constitutes a hendiadys. On the unlikelihood of such a reading see Ingleheart (2006: 64 5). 23 Tr. 1.1.111 14, 1.9.61 2, 2.1 8, 2.211 12, 2.313 16; P. 2.9.73 6 3.3.37 8. The date of the Ars Amatoria is partially debated, as book three may have been later: the terminus ante quem is the naumachia of 2 B.C.E. (1.171) and the terminus post quem is the expectation of a contemporary tri umph at 1.177 228, perhaps as late as 2 C.E. See McKeown (1987: 77); Gibson (2003: 38 43); Ingleheart (2010: 4, n. 20). Nagle (1995) postulates that Ovids ars could refer to the Metamorphoses though this is unlikely considering the overt identification at Tr. 2.207 52, esp. 211 12: altera pars causae superset, qua carmine turpi / arguor obsceni doctor adulterii the other part of the case remains, that I am accused of being a teacher of obscene adultery because of a vulgar poem. 24 Following the title of Hinds (2007: 214 20) 25 E.g. Cocchia (1902); Ripert (1921); Durling (1958), though this argument has fallen into disuse after Syme (1978: 222). 26 For the law itself see Syme (1939: 443 5); Riccobono (1945: 1.112 28) ; Bauman (1996: 54); Ingleheart (2010: 3 4). Cf. Cohen (2008: 211), who rightly questions the association between adultery and the specific punishment of relegatio ad insulam. Her conclusions further cast doubt on Ovids association with the imperial family as an adulterer, suggesting instead that Augustus invented a punishment for traitors that was, coincidently, also employed for adulterers. 27 McGinn (2003: 90) argues that the intention behind the law was to more rigidly define citizens within their respective orders. By defining the sexual status of women (Roman matrons vs. prostitutes, free women vs. slaves), the lex Iulia de adulteriis coercendis could legitimately classify the rest of the family lineage could be drawn without confusion only through women. Thus punishment was often harsher for the free nobiles who encouraged or patronized prostitutes than for the actual prostitute herself. In fact, in the elite sphere, a adulterous Roman matron would not only endanger her own status, but that of her husband as well, who could be held on char ges of lenocinium (pimping), if it could be shown that he
16 story goes as follows : the poet is considered accessory (through his Ars Amatoria ) to the adulteress Julia the younger, Augustus granddaughter by his daughter Julia and her second husband Agrippa. Beca use both Julia and Ovid were banished in 8 C.E. many have been tempted to connect Ovids Ars Amatoria with the princesss alleged infidelity.28 The chronology of Ovids punishment however suffers from a severe discrepancy : why was the poet banished in 8 C.E. for a poem written a decade earlier in 2 B.C.E.? Julia the elder was banished c. 2 B.C.E. (Tac. Ann. 1.53); if Ovids Ars Amatoria had anything to do with adultery in the imperial family, why was he not punished then? A second hypothesis draws upon this skepticism to ascribe the majority of Ovids fault to his error, and to postulate a lesser, symbolic role for his guilty poem.29 But what, then, was the unforgivable error that sent Ovid into exile ? Theories as to the type of political mistake that Ovi d may have committed ( given the evidence available in his exile poetry ) tend towards the problem of succession in Augustus regime,30 though many are absurd.31 Symes argument willingly allowed his wife to continue in an illicit affair. The function of this law (and later the lex Papia Poppaea of 9 C.E.) was more ideological than sociological (129), geared towards defining the sphere of decent Roman women and their families. 28Although the dates match there is no reason to believe legal association: see Thibault (1964: 54 67); Ingleheart (2010: 4 5 n. 22). On Julia the younger see Suet. Aug. 65. 29 E.g. Norwood (1963); Sym e (1978: 215 22); Green (1982: 202 20); Williams (1994 : 174 and n. 49). 30 Sidonius Apollinaris verses (among our oldest evidence, c. 460 C.E.), may corroborate this fact: he calls Ovids Corinna a caesarea puella perhaps implying an ilicit affair between Ovid and a member of the imperial family (one of the Julias?). See Thibault (1964: 42 6), who rejects this theory on the grounds that Corinna was renowned even in antiquity for her anonymity ( A.A. 3.538; Mar. Epig. 5.10.10), and that the modern scholarly consensus considers Corinna little more than poetic fantasy (42 52). With regards to the emperor, cf. Thibault (1964: 49): credulity is further strained by the effort to believe that Augustus could have remained in ignorance for some twenty years that his daughter Julia and Ovids Corinna were one and the same woman. 31 E.g. Brooks (1866) who postulates that Ovid somehow witnessed Livia bathing nude (cf. Tr. 2.103 10 ), Ellis (1881) who claims Ovid profaned the mysteries of Isis, or Accursius Pisanus claim in 1480 that Ovid committed adultery with the empress herself, something even Ovid would have the presence of mind not
17 remains exemplary for this sort of political analysis though I must stress that I find it compelling, yet incomplete: a better reading incorporates both a literary and political impetus for exile He claims that the followers of Augustus granddaughter Julia the Younger did not necessarily share the emperors ideas about who would beco me the next princeps and were thus swept aside, an act made easy by her notorious infidelities.32 L. Aemilius Paullus, Syme argues, fell from the emperors good graces on grounds of treason at the same time as his supposedly unfaithful wife (Julia the young er) in 8 C.E Julia, however, was convicted of adultery (most likely a pretext) with a lover, D. Junius Silanus, and was banished ad insulam .33 As for Silanus, Tacitus reports that Caesar summarily sent him from Rome and Italy ( Ann. 3.24.3). Although the evidence is incidental, Ovid was banished in the same year (8 C.E. ), though under the more severe circumstances of official relegatio in Pontus. Augustus added the Ars Amatoria to the list of charges against the poet, perhaps in an attempt to obfuscate the political machinations of Julia and her lovers, in which Ovid is assumed to have been involved, whether or not of his own accord. A fragile and flimsy charge (accessory to Julias trumped up adultery?) against Ovid could be augmented with the inclusion of his amatory verses in the imperial accusation: patent corroboration of nociv ity. 34 to mention repeatedly in his poetry or his letter to Augustus (Thibault 1964: 69 70, 80 1). As late as 1964, Carcopino (145) claimed O vid was apart of an elaborate conspiracy of Pythagorean sorcerers. 32 Suet. Aug. 65; Syme (1978) follows Boissier (1909: 140 5) and Wilkinson (1955: 298 300) 33 Levick (1976: 55) takes the sources (Tac. Ann. 4.71.4; Suet. Aug. 19.1; cf. the scholium on Juv. 6.158) at face value, that Julia was banished for adultery. See Syme (1 978: 220), who gathers these citations and, with characteristic brevity, contends that, theirs [Julia and Paullus] was a common catastrophe, albeit on different pretexts. 34 Syme (1978: 221).
18 We need not, however, subscribe to one alternative or the other.35 As I mentioned above, a complete reading must account for Ovids political error as well as the faults (whatever they may have been) of his carmen. Ovid never privileges either the carmen or the error as the sole cause of his exile,36 and despite convincing claims to the contrary, the Ars appears to have played an immediate and pressing role in the mind of his accuser, the emperor. Ingleheart follows the middle path: I t is important to follow neither scholars who claim that Ovids real offence was the Ars and that the error was adduced merely as a convenient pretext on which Augustus could finally rid hims elf of Ovid, nor those who suggest that the major offence was the error, and that the Ars formed an additional, subordinate charge. Given the close link between the carmen et error in Ovids exile poetry, it is inappropriate to distinguish too sharply betw een them as regards their perceived culpability.37 The part played by Ovids Ars in his trial and sentencing was no despotic afterthought, meant to justify an otherwise shaky prosecution.38 Furthermore, it will become clear later on that Ovid is aware of bot h the political and poetic implications of his stance in the exilic poems. In fact, if we assume that the carmen half of Ovids offense was fabricated by the emperor to substantiate the necessity of his relegatio, the way in which 35 This seems to be Symes conclusion (1978: 222), although he stresses the political subtext as a means of correcting previous historians: the conspicuous lack is poli tical sense, and common sense ( 216) ; cf. Syme (1939: 468). 36 Indeed, there appears to be an emphasis on the duality of Ovids mistakes as at Tr. 2.207 12; P. 2.9.71 6, 3.3.71 2. Additionally, Ovid seems at odds deciding which mistake was more to blame: at P. 3.3.72 Love himself seems to support the error ahead of the Ars : Scis aliu d quod te laeserit esse magis You know that the other thing [the error ] has harmed you more, but cf. Ovid at Tr. 5.12.46: uos estis nostrae maxima causa fugae, You, [Muses], were the greatest cause of my flight. 37 Ingleheart (2010: 5). 38 The role of t he lex Iulia de adulteriis coercendis supports the interpretation that Ovid was exiled for both the carmen and the error and that the perhaps primary nature of his error does not rule out the disastrous impact of his carmen. Following McGinn (2003), Ovid would have violated the ideological spirit of Augustus marriage laws by encouraging the kind of behavior among the elite that confused social orders and delegitimized otherwise honorable families. As Davis (2006: 9 22) argues, there appears to have been a rigidly understood Augustan ideology, to the extent that Ovid could take a side against it.
19 Ovid presents the duality of his sentence further supports his intellectual mockery of Augustus, a fundamental point of the present project. The trumped up charge of poetic indiscretion becomes a point of departure for Ovids literary response to the emperor, which I argue everw here focuses on Augustus shortcomings as a reader of Latin literature. There was an ever present power on the part of poetry to affect the reality of Augustan Rome,39 and no Roman was more aware of that power than Ovid. Politics and Literature in Augustan Rome Superficially, after 8 C.E. then, Ovid had no political position worth considering: he was relegatus in Tomis, a small port on the Black Sea some eight hundred miles away from Rome. Nevertheless the poet had certain political goals: an end to or comm utation of his sentence. In order to accomplish this he would have to reshape his relationship with the emperor through his verse epistles, in such a way as to compel his audience (whether or not that included the emperor himself) to support his officially condemned cause. Thus I must stress at the outset that the political Ovid I will analyze was by no means pro- or anti Augustan, rather, the appropriate epithet may be opportunistic, as he employed whatever rhetorical position he thought might tip the imbalanced scales between himself and Augustus in his favor.40 39Syme (1939: 252 58). My reading on the intersection between politics and literature, and the power of literature to effect change (or reflect it) owes much to the work of Ahl (1984); Habinek (1998: 151 70); Woodman and West (1984) ; Hardie (1992: 59 82); McGowan (2009: 21, 74). 40 See Davis (2006: 9 22) for the use of the terms pro and anti with respect to Ovids politics, as well as Kennedy (1992); Galinsky (1998: 4 5) cf. Woodman and West (1984). Following these works, I accept the timely caveat that no text is truly pro- or anti Augustan, but that by necessity it must be open, not limited to any set of political or literary presuppositions. On Ovids opportunism, see Hardie (2002); Oliensis (2004); Johnson (2008) and McGowan (2009).
20 From the emperors standpoint, Ovids opportunism can best be understood in light of his refusal to acknowledge Augustus auctoritas ,41 at a time when acceptance of that authority was transitio ning from encouraged to compulsory Because the power base of the princeps originally functioned within republican parameters, imperial authority existed not by mandate, but rather by mutual acceptance.42 Ovids refusal to assume the senatorial stripe ( Tr. 4.10.33 40) may have been the first step down a dangerous path, on which he did not tacitly accept Augustus auctoritas along with the rest of the Roman elite In fact, Ovids exilic poetry sits at a dangerous crossroads in Roman history. A t the end of Aug ustus life, the republican sentiments by which he had so effectively commanded authority in Rome for more than thirty years began to show their more despotic characteristics : refusal to accept the emperors amicitia and therefore participate in his auctor itas was not merely social suicide, it was treasonous. Ovid existed in the space between imperial la ckey and outright revolutionary: a Roman citizen who bought into the preservation of republican freedoms (such as his right to 41 Praise for the emperor in the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto does not consistently follow the paradigm of auctoritas I have adapted from Galinsky (1998: 10 41); on the emperors clemency see Ciccarelli (2002). Augustus is frequently deified (Ovid is one of the earliest poets to make this claim outright) or compared with any number of epic or historic heroes (e.g. Achilles and Alexander the Great in Tr. 3.5), encomium befitt ing a Hellenistic monarch, but not a Roman princeps ; cf. Theoc. Idyll 17 on Ptolemy Philadelphus (r. 285 247 B.C.E.). For Hellenismus as a major aspect of Roman culture in the late republic, see Zanker (1990: 5 32); cf. Galinsky (1998: 5). For antemortem d eification of Augustus see Clauss (1999); Gradel (2002: 109 11), who points out that Ovids trailblazing deification of the emperor, as well as other private religious images of Augustus must be treated differently from state sanctioned worship and imperial cult, which did not exist during Augustus lifetime. 42 For the preservation and extension of Republican government within and beneath the extraconstitutional powers (embodied in titles such as pater patriae or princeps itself) of Augustus see Galinsky ( 1998: 10 41). I follow his usage of auctoritas as [a] kind of mutuality that cannot be mandated (14); see also Woodman and West (1984: 195); Cooley (2009); Welch (2012) For the monarch that existed behind republican curtains, see Brundt and Moore (1967: 16) ; Kienast (1999: 519 24); Davis (2006); McGowan (2009: 21).
21 free speech exercised in vers e ),43 but refused to pay the price for Augustan peace. Ovids downfall then, represents a crack in Augustus republican faade, in that the emperors response required the exercise of tyrannical authority, not mutually recognized auctoritas In the exile po e try, we are witness to the degradation of a timehonored Roman tradition: no longer could talented and influential citizens weave political discourse into works of literature. This reading of a republican leader transitioning into despotism best suits the exile poetry, which includes aspects of encomium and deification suited to a godruler, as well as a pervasive rhetorical subtext which encourages political dialogue through an aesthetic medium a hallmark of both r epublican and early imperial literature.44 This balance between poet and emperor is articulated by Oliensis, to whom my reading of Ovids opportunism owes much. She is right to consider Ovids envy, aggression, exaltation, and abasement, part of a rhetorical chess match between opposed players, rather than outright political dissent.45 However, I follow McGowans reinterpretation that the balance between players is asymmetrical,46 and that, as I see it, Ovid can only overcome the power inequality through emphasis on his own poetic authority (an d the emperors implied lack thereof) He can thereby avoid the obvious legal problems inherent in contradicting or secondguessing an imperial decree, while simultaneously supporting his own position and questioning the necessity of such a 43 For Ovids response to restricted free speech, see Claassen (1986: 158 61); Feeney (1992: 1 25); Forbis (1997: 245 67) 44 That Roman literature could encourage political dialogue in aesthetic terms forms the foundation of fundamental studies such as Barchiesi (1994) and (2001); Habinek (1998); cf. Johnson (2011: 77 120) on Horace and civil war. For Ovid, see Habinek (1998: 151 70) on the creation of the imperial citizen. 45 Oliensis (2004: 286). 46 McGowan (2009: 2 3).
22 severe exile (both points of argument that could be construed as treason).47 Instead of irony employed in the service of dissent, Ovid ov ercomes his power deficit by constantly referring to his own (self deprecated) poetry within the fictionalized universe of exile, a tac it reference to the Augustus ostensible idiocy This I believe, change s the nature of his discourse with the emperor,48 as presented to the collected Roman elite. Ovids manipulation of his relationship with the emperor exists within the dissonance between what he says and what his poetry implies. Claassen identifies Ovids sermo absentis as a fundamental form of contradiction between text and subtext: Ovid bypasses Augustus banishment from Rome by sending elegiac epistles to the city, thus returning the poets voice and his carmina, both of which were banned.49 This gap between text and subtext, the point at which Ovid can be said to be playing it both ways,50 is fundamental for my reading of Ovids compositional metaphor, his representation of the exile poetrys audience(s) and his reconfiguration of the exilic landscape. Where Ovid has no freedom to debate (or appeal) the emperors verdict, he makes good use of his poetic arsenal: Ovids access to Rome and immortality through 47 For the dangers of dialogue with a despot, see Hinds (2007: 209 13 with a caveat on 212 about application to the Roman empire), who argues, via Grosrichard (1979: 79 80) that any verbal intercourse with the emperor, whether or not invited, was unwelcome and unnecessary: In this context Ovids exile poems can perhaps be read as inherently insubordinate, as having the capacity to mobilize by their very existence a poetic of conspiracy (212 emphasis original ). 48 See Barchiesi (1994) and Habinek (1998: 9). The former argues for a frequent aestheticization of politics in antiquity (the rendering of political figures or events in literary discourses), while the latter has considered the politicization of aesthetics, i.e., the use of literary texts as the conscious and sometimes unconscious tools of a political elite (Habinek 1998: 9). I do not consider these readings mutually exclusive: Ovid can effectively dictate the terms of the dialogue concerning his own exile to an elite aud ience through the exilic letters (essentially rendering a political event an aesthetic discourse) while simultaneously empowering his own political position through purely artistic means 49 Claasse n (1999: 12); McGowan (2009: 3). A second example can be found above, p. 1 (with n. 3 and 4), where Ovid calls his life in exile death, but that because of exile he owes his life to Augustus. 50 The title of Stahl (2002). This methodology is representative of Williams (1994), Claassen (1999) and Hardie (2002).
23 his poetry undermines imper ial condemnation and the emperors gradual assumption of divine honors.51 Ovids letters from exile are not merely valuable as political commentary for the early empire. While they invite speculation about Ovids involvement in the imperial family and thei r particularly entertaining dysfunction, they have poetic merit in and of themselves,52 though it was ignored for the better part of the twentieth century.53 The rehabilitative efforts of Frnkel (1945) and Wilkinson (1955) did much to throw Ovids exilic po etry, especially the epistles, into the limelight. My reading of Ovidian poetics in the exilic corpus owes much to four subsequent studies, each of which built from and corrected the historicist assumptions of the previous generation. My discussion of Ovid s poetic journey and audience in exile draw upon Rahns Ovids elegische Epistel, which has twofold importance: first, Rahn links Ovids mythologizing in the exilic epistles to that found in his Heroides and Metamorphoses. Within this interpretive sphere, Rahn 51 He re I follow McGowan (2009: 5, with n. 16): The abiding paradox of Ovids exile is that the very punishment meant to harm the poet in fact substantiates his position vis vis his punisher, Caesar Augustus: political power to banish with impunity is effect ively undercut by the power of poetry to immortalize its subject. 52 Any discussion of the literary merits of a text must begin with an overview of the text itself, and it is worth noting here that those of the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto remained dismal into the late 1980s; for histories of textual criticism see Nagle (1980); Tarrant (1983); Richmond (2002). Owens P. Ovidius Naso Tristia (1915) rightly earned Housman s (1915) editorial wrath, and t he Bud edi tion of Andrs ( 1968) met similar poor reception, leaving only Owens school commentary on Tristia 3, Nmethys (1913) commentaries on the Tristia and Epistulae (called superficial by Nagle 1980: 6), and a few dissertations (Bakker 1946 and DeJong 1951) Lucks (1967 77) translation and commentary on the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto, remained the most acceptable texts, (along wi th Wheelers 1924 Loeb) throughout much of the 20th century. Both the Tristia and Epistulae received appropriate textual attention in the 1990s, however, yielding the now standard editions of Richmonds (1990) Epistulae and Halls (1995) Tristia (the editions I rely upon for this study) These texts are not without their own faults, and quality commentaries continue to be produced, including the most recent edition of Epistulae 1 by Gaertner (2005) and Tristia 2 by Ingleheart (2010). 53 Even at the dawn of the New Criticism, one of Ovids chief rehabilitators, L. P. Wilkinson (1955) remained so doubtful as to the value of the exilic epistles that a generous selection based on interest and literary merit would barely include a third of both works (360). See Nagle (1980: 7 and n. 24) for the importance of Wilkinson (1955) and Frnkle (1945)
24 develops Ovids Odysseus Rolle that is, the ways in which Ovid represents himself as venturing on an epic journey to Tomis.54 In 1959, Marg reevaluated Ovids audience in the Tristia suggesting that the lack of addressees played into a larger Ovidi an plot to focus on two balanced characters: the poet and the prince, a crucial observation upon which I will build my fourth chapter. Georg Lucks Notes on the Language and Text of Ovids Tristia proved the fallacy inherent in Ovids own complaints that his exilic letters were derivative and poorly written (e.g. Tr. 5.1.69), a fallacy taken at face value by otherwise judicious readers.55 Instead, Ovids letters from Tomis contain the same stylistic nuance, irony and w it found in his previous works. Thus the poets supposed claims to deterioration are meant instead to focus audience attention on the finer points of his verse, while the emperors failure to pick up on these is both highlighted and mocked by Ovids feigned self deprecation. Finally, Barchies is article Insegnare ad Augusto: Orazio, Epistole 2.1 e Ovidio, Tristia II reconsidered Ovids concept of his own poetical doctrine in Tristia 2, as advice to the emperor on how to read Latin elegy, in light of the literary critical focus of Horaces Ep istle 2.1. Each of these critics has augmented the collective understanding of Ovids literary response56 to his exile, punctuated, I believe, with the poets characteristic self awareness. 54 See also McGowan (2009: 169 201), who claims Ovid dons the characteristics of Homer as well as Odysseus. 55 So A. L. Wheelers (1924: xxxi xxxii) Loeb edition: Poetry written amid such surroundings was inevitably monotonous and aroused criticism. 56 Nagle (1980: 13) ; she continues: whereas in the past, scholars were interested in the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto as Ovids response to his exile, they are now beginning to recognize the need to interpret these works a literary response.
25 Ovids focus on poetry and his own poetical doctrine has for som e time been recognized as important to his overall program in the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto.57 Betty Rose Nagle has, in turn, focused on what and why Ovid wrote, and how poetry fixes the poet within a larger literary historical discourse. She considers how Ovid adapted traditional poetic imagery (such as the narrative spheres of amorous elegy and didactic), or invented new imagery in order to fit the circumstances of his literary and physical exile. The Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto, I will argue, cons titute an intersection between the aesthetic of self criticism so important to Ovid,58 and a thematic focus on the exiles suffering. To this end, Ovid will frequently adjust metaphors in such a way as to emphasize the correlation between his literary and physical exile.59 He perverts or exaggerates the Tomitan landscape (the sky, sea, and air) in order to rebrand it as an obstacle not only to physical comfort but also to poetic composition. Finally, he play s upon his relationship with each addressee, particularly fellow poets, orators, or critics (e.g. P. 4.2, 4.10, 4.12 and 4.14), to remind his audience o f his own singular poetic skill, the injustice of his banishment and the emperors foolishness for handing down such a sentence. Ultimately, these manipulations rebalance his relationship with the emperor in 57 For the poets representati on of his own poetic act in verse see Wimmel (1960: 287 88, 297 99). This was the traditional means for a poet to comment on his own act of writing: see Nagle (1980: 13, n. 67). For self awareness see Stroh (1971: 250 3); Galletier (1942); Parker (1969: 94 6). On Ovids self consciousness in particular Nagle (1980: 10 15): Throughout his career Ovid was the most self conscious of the highly self conscious Augustan poets; his reflections upon the nature of his art perhaps even increased after he was exiled. His poetry was, after all, one of the causes of his exile. 58 Nagle (1980: 13). 59 For example, Ovids naufragus metaphors, on which see Cuchiarelli (1997); Tola (2001). These images unify references to the poets dangerous journey to Tomis, his own politi cal downfall and his aversion to writing new poetry, and are a frequent means for Ovid to focus the poetic attention upon himself: Tr. 1.5.35 6, 1.6.7 8, 2.99 102; P. 1.2.59 60, 1.5.39 42, 1.6.33 4, 2.2.126, etc.
26 the eyes of the Roman elite by elevating his poetic act to epic proportions, and insulting the emperors ability to even comprehend that accomplishment How does Ovid begin to realign the dialogue surrounding his own exile while hundreds of miles removed from Rome at Tomis? What can Ovid write to reshape the mind of his audience concerning Augustus, the principate, and the poets place therein? My second chapter will explore these questions, which, I bel ieve Ovid answered with his programmatic metaphor, that of the poetic journey. To demonstrate his own primacy of place within the GrecoRoman literary tradition,60 and thus emphasize his poetic claim to immortality in the face of banishment (death for Ovid) ,61 and undermine the emperors divine honors ,62 Ovid depicts himself as enacting a traditional poetic image, one which compares the poets task to the embarkation of a ship upon a long sea voyage.63 Not only has Ovid employed an image that can be found throughout Greek a nd Latin poetry (as early Homer, Hesiod, and Alcman and as late as Vergil, Propertius and Tibullus)64 but he has also enacted it within a twofold interpretive 60 Something Ovid is at pains to do throughout the exilic epistles. See Tr. 2.464 70, 4.10.41 6; P. 4.16. 61 See above, pg. 1 n.4. 62 Ovid frequently refers to the emperors divinity in this exilic works: Tr. 1.1.29 32, 71 4, 1.3.10 11, 2.22, 33 41, 215 18, etc.; Fasti 1.608, 2.130 32; cf. Met 1.204 5, 15.850 60. 63 Here my reading is indebted to Harrison (2007), whose analysis of the ocean of epos stops short of Ovidian poetry, treating only Catullus, Vergil, and Horace. For Catullus in the exilic epistles, see Bonvincini (2000). 64 The use of sailing as a prominent compositional metaphor existed in antiquity from Hesiods n autillia ( Op. 618 94; see Rosen 1990) and Ibycus Polycrates Fragment 282 PMG (see Barron 1969: 134; Steiner 2005), both of which contain strong Homeric allusions, suggesting an earlier oral tradition of similar metapoetic statements, on which see Nagy (1982: 66); Thalmann (1984: 152 3). In addition, Od. 8.246 53 may constitute a moment of aesthetic intersection between sailing and poetry in Homeric epic, although I find this point more debatable than those cited in Hesiod and later in Ibycus: see Rosen (1990: 103 4, n. 19). In Hellenistic poets the metaphor is essentially standard: Callimachus Hymn to Apollo (2.108 12) directly connects the ocean and seafaring with the act of composing epic poetry. This archaic metaphor is developed under Roman influence through the filter of Hellenistic poets such as Callimachus: Catullus (64.1 12), Vergil ( Aen 2.780 2, 3.11, 7.5 7) and Propertius (4.9) all rely on Greek metaphors relating water and seafaring to the act of writing poetry (Harrison 2007). I contend that Ovid not only adds
27 sphere.65 On the one hand it emphasizes the nov elty of his poetic undertaking: t he elegiac epistles ( which he claimed to have invented at A. A. 3.345 6 ) have reached their formal height in his exile. On the other hand as poet in exil e, Ovid has highlighted the novelty of his once purely poetic endeavor, a move made possible only through the emperors misguided censorship. This chapter also sets the stage for Ovids representation of his own poetic act in the exilic works and poses the fundamental question, how did Ovid apply the conceptual voyage to his own poetry? What does his empha sis on compositional metaphor mean for our interpretation of the exilic epistles as a whole?66 A close reading of the Latin text will demonstrate not only the ubiquity of this image, but also the fundamental importance to Ovids overall poetic program as a means to reenact the emperors misguided reading of Ovidian elegy I will close my second chapter with a section discussing the implications of this metaphor for Ov ids political position in Rome Ovid, who has no tangible authority with which to respond t o Augustus, instead legitimizes his own poetic position67 by questioning that of the emperor B anishment itself encouraged his name to this list in the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto, but that in doing so he politicizes an otherwise aesthetic statement on poetic authority: as evidence, we need look no further than the ship of state metaphor in Alcaeus fr. 6. 65 On the voyage and poetry see Wimmel (1960: 222 23); Cody (1976: 82 7); Fedeli (1985: 134 8); Steiner (1986: 71 5) ; West (2007: 38 43). 66 These are points that have received onl y cursory treatment in modern scholarly discourse, beyond Rahns (1958: 115 19) OdysseusRolle which I will argue forms only part of a larger poetic program (see chapter 2 below). The most extensive recent contribution is that of Ingleheart (2010: 120 21) For tangentially related material on the poetic craft see Kenney (1958: 205 6) ; Cucchiarelli (1997); Tola (2001); West (2007); on Ovids epic diction in general see Otis (1970); in these scenes, Evans (1983: 34 6, 40); Ingleheart (2006) 67 Ovid develop s poetic authority from the semi divine tradition of Hesiodic poetry ( Op. 642 6; Theog. 22 35) and the Augustan poets reinterpretation of the ancient term vates used interchangeably for poeta ( Met 10.143; Tr. 1.6.21,2.426, 3.7.20; P 4.8.67) and augur ( Met. 3.348 49; Tr. 1.8.9). On the history of the term itself see Newman (1967).
28 further poetic production (thereby violating the censorship implied in banishment) and not only served as fodder for new verses, but evidenced Augustus own inept understanding of Latin poetry Ovid can change the nature of Roman discourse surrounding his exile by restructuring per sonal authority on literary grounds, as opposed to the political honors assumed by a brutal revolutionary.68 In light of Ovids self representation as the archetypal poetic voyager,69 the third chapter of this study reevaluates Ovids place of exile. Just as Ovid aggrandized the perils of his journey into exile, a reflection of the danger inherent in writing poetr y after imperial condemnation, so too does the poet manipulate the Tomitan environment in order to reflect the oppressive nature of the emperors wrath. I argue that the Pontic universe is not merely a manifestation of Ovids internal misery, but a representation of Augustus harsh punishment. I explore the counterintuitive prison of the Tomitan constellations, which should function as navigational guides considering their position in the extreme north, and yet are frequently depicted as hindering Ovids poetic act I look at the frigid Pontic seas, which prevent the consummate journeyman poet from continuing his sailing imagery because they remain frozen solid year round. I also consider the barren Tomitan landscape, where the only feasible crop is bitter w ormwood, a harsh reversal of the fertility associated with a proper locale for poetic 68 In this sense I follow Syme (1939: 2): The rule of Augustus brought manifold blessings to Rome, Italy and the provinces. Yet the new dispensation, or novus status, was the work of fraud and bloodshed, based upon the seizure of power and redistribution of property by a revolutionary leader. On Augustus divinity and Ovids exile, see Galinsky (1998: 312 30), who argues that Augustus had assumed many semi divine honors by th e time of Ovids exile, and that in the provinces he may have been worshiped outright. Ovids repetitive prayers to A ugustus/Jupiter reflect a provincialization or downgrading of the exiles personal authority and status: he has lost his homeland and wit h it he begins the barbaric practice of worshiping Augustus as deus praesens On the imperial cult and what it meant to worship a living emperor, see Clauss (1999); Grabel (2002); McGowan (2009: 98 107, esp. 98 n. 20). 69 Expanding on imagery found in Cat ullus and Vergil. See Harrison (2007).
29 composition, such as the Italian countryside. Even the local inhabitants, (through, for example, their constant violence) reflect the barbarity implicit in the emperors callous disregard for intellectual pursuits: who else would banish Romes leading poetic voice, except the utter barbarian? Unlike Ovidian Rome,70 Tomis provides Ovid with none of the weaponry of poetry (carminis arma, Tr. 5.12.51 2) Ovids supposed audiences form the subject of my fourth chapter. Here I argue that the exilic epistles gradually shift from a general audience of friends and intellectual companions to the more specific subset of highly educated Roman citizens .71 Ultimately, this emphasize s t he authoritative poetic persona Ovid develops from the outset of Tristia 1 obfuscating his obvious dearth of political power By tainting reality with fiction and mixing poet with persona, Ovid lives out his Augustan condemnation Not only does he continue his program of depicting life in Tomis as a physical reenactment of his own verse, Ovid also refines the presentation of that enactment, drawing closer parallels to, for example, the Metamorphoses or the Aeneid. The depth of these connections was targete d at well educated Roman elites, figures that I have subdivided in this chapter between sophoi (intellectuals who appreciate Ovids literary contribution, though are not necessarily connected to Ovid through friendly or political ties ) and philoi (loyal fr iends and relatives who have access to the poets genius through sheer proximity) These categories, I argue, focus the audiences attention on itself, and ostracize a conspicuously absent interlocutor: the emperor himself.72 As I will 70 For the comparison, which focuses on the similarities between Roman poets conception of the Golden Age and Ovids place of exile, see Williams (1994: 12 25). 71 On exilic letters see DElia (1959: 386 91), comparing Cicero, Ovid and Seneca; Gaertner (2007: 168 72). On exilic literature in general see Claassen (1999). 72 For the emperor as Ovids primary interlocutor in the exilic works, see Marg (1959: 349 50).
30 demonstrate, Ovid use s different strategies for different circles of friends, but ultimately returns to the development o f a persona that mingles reality and poetry, in light of the emperor s inability to read Latin verse. The final chapter will consider Ovids compositional metaphor and the subsequent indictment of Augustus within the larger sphere of universal stability and instability By playing out the emperors idiocy in a very public for u m, Ovid essentially reverses the contemporary Augustan paradigm, in so far as he wa s envisi oned as the ultimate stabilizer and free Romans as beneficiaries of his reign. Instead, I conclude, exile handed down from the top of the new Roman republic has destabilized the most celebrated living voice in Roman poetry By bringing to light a moment of Augustan instability Ovid recasts himself and the emperor in more rhetorically balanced roles : the poet as champion of Romes intellectual aristocracy and Augustus as the unsophisticated autocrat Ovid first appealed to t his refined audience through poetic subtext that emphasized the destabilization of the poetic act after exile ( an undercurrent present even in Tristia 2): Augustus is represented as having destabilized Ovids poetry by association with the dangerous journey to Tomis and the h arsh Pontic countryside. Finally, by condemning and physically removing Ovid, Augustus has destabilized the very definition of high culture in contemporary Rome: access to the elite ruling class was no longer based on family, tradition, refinement, or educ ation, but merely imperial whim. In this way, we can reread the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto as inextricably joined works, bent on delivering their author poetic immortality, ironically, at the expense of the very monarch who attempted to rob him of it
31 C HAPTER 2 POETRY AND SAILING IN THE TRISTIA AND EPISTULAE EX PONTO N arrative action, the poets aesthetic of self awareness and the actual circumstances of Ovids life intersect in the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto. Ovid, of course, employs metaphors of sailing as a means of recalling his own poetic act.1 B ecause the poet enacts this metaphor through his exilic journey, however, the image constitutes a formidable demonstration of po etic novelty and accomplishment .2 Furthermore, by merging poet with poetic persona, Ovid enacts his judges ostensible failure to understand and appreciat e the fundamental nuance of Latin poetry that necessitates a separation of narrator from author.3 With characteristic Ovidian wit, this merging is accomplished in the highest C allimachean fashion: Ovid compares the originality of his exilic epistles with the first sea voyage to the Pontus, that of Jason and the Argonauts Alongside this mythological adaptation of poetry to reality are Ovids frequent compositional metaphor s, th at of the poetic vessel, literary farm, and the poets chariot, 1 On the metapoetic journey over the ocean, see Wimmel (1960: 222 3); Kambylis (1965); Lieberg (1969); Harrison (2007); West (2007: 38 43). 2 I wish to stress the extent to which Ovid has adapted and expanded this timehonored theme in Roman poetry. We might compare Horaces exegi monumentum aere perennius / reg alique situ pyramidum altius ( Odes 3.30.1 2), where the monumental and epigraphic nature of his verse attests the lasting vitality of Horaces poetic accomplishment (Habinek 1998: 109 12). Ovids poetry is equal parts monument and inscription, as evidenced at Tr. 3.3.71 80, esp. 77 8: hoc satis in titulo est. etenim maiora libelli / et diuturna magis sunt monimenta mihi this is enough for an inscription. My books are a greater and longer lasting monument. Allusions to both Catullus ( libelli) and Horace ( monimenta) mimic their claims to literary immortality and simultaneously outdo them, on the one hand with grammatical plurality (implying greater output at the same level of artistry) and on the other hand within the context of extreme duress: Ovid composed quality verse despite exile to Tomis, which no predecessor suffered. This, however, is merely the basis for Ovids self posturing: his enactment of verse involves not merely claiming immortality and proving it with excellent poetry, but, in addition, l iving out the romance (of his Amores and Ars Amatoria), danger (of, for example, seafaring in his Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto), and even mythology (by adding himself to the Metamorphoses in Tr. 1.1.117 22) of his best works. This forms a testament to poetic accomplishment which none of Ovids fellow Latin poets could claim. 3 For Augustus misreading, see Tr. 2.218 38; cf. Hor. Ep 2.1.1 4. See Wiedemann (1975); Barchiesi (1993); cf. Starbyla (1994) and Davis (1999); Ingleheart (2010: ad loc. ).
32 which are evidence for the authors metaliterary comparison between his own poetic act and the Argo myth. R eferences to sailing, farming, and charioteering are t raditional for the poetic act but Ovid combines these images with unprecedented scope and emphasis .4 Thus i n Ov ids exilic epistles we find a focus on authorial originality, substantiated in frequent and extensive compositional metaphors that fuse fiction with reality These poetic constructions have no parallel or precedent in terms of frequency or quantity : many authors employ the poetic vessel metaphor; none (other than Ovid) within the same passage as the literary farm and poets chariot.5 This emphasis serve s to focus the audienc es attention on the unique intersection between poetry and reality in the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto and how that intersection plays into the emperors misunderstanding of Ovids earlier works Furthermore, b ecause Ovid physically sails to Tomis, exi le itself becomes his chief literary device, one which compares Ovids poetic act with h is physical journey into exile. In fact, Ovid emphasizes this aspect of his novel poetry from Pontus by reenacting the myth of Jason and the Argonauts, who first sailed the open ocean and first journeyed to Pontus. As a poet in exile, Ovid presents himself as living at the intersection between Romes favorite literary traditions and the reality of 4 By empl oying not one metaphor for the poetic act, but two or even all three at the same time, Ovid is effectively trumping the usage of such imagery by his predecessors: cf. Tr. 1.5.53 5, where even an invincible voice ( vox infragilis 53), a heart stronger than bronze ( pectus firmius aere, 53) and many mouths with many tongues ( pluraque cum linguis pluribus ora, 54) could not describe his many sorrows, a reference to Il. 2.488 90, where the narrator also has an unbreakable voice ( 490) but only a brazen heart ( 490), and merely ten tongues in ten mouths ( 489). West (2007: 41) notes that the appearance of compositional metaphors in Latin authors may simply be a response to Greek precedent. Based on this assumption, we can accurately read Ovids frequent and tripartite compositional metaphors as emphatic references to the traditions of Greek and Latin literature. 5 Pairings are rare, but more frequent than Ovids tripartite arrangement. See esp. those which match the poetic vessel and chariot types in West (2007: 40 3).
33 Augustan Italy T he result is a demonstration of his genius as a poet and the emperors f olly in condemning him to exile over a misunderstanding. Ovids seafaring images are int errelated on narrative grounds: they frequently depict identical scenes, s uch as the shipwrecked survivor they can, nevertheless, be subdivided into tw o categories, those of sailing, which relate Ovids physical exile to the act of composing poetry, and those of his shipwreck, which play upon the authors historic fall from grace The latter image is quite popular, and can be found in direct reference to his verse ( Tr. 5.12.49 50), the catastrophe of his exile ( Tr. 2.99 102), and even the role of his friends in his longedfor return (Tr. 5.9.15 20). The former image, on the other hand, links the actual journey to Ovids literary vessel, that is, his act o f writing poetry.6 Here we can distinguish the Callimachean aesthetic of the genus tenue and genus grande, that is, the limits of Ovidian elegy as opposed to the expanse of epic verse.7 In any case, the poetic vessel itself is a programmatic image in the T ristia ( 1.2.87 90, 1.4.9 12) and the Ex Ponto (2.2.27 32) In an attempt to appeal to his highly literate Roman audience, Ovid peppers the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto with 6 The image is popular throughout Ovids preexilic works, most notably at the closing of the Remedia Amoris : hoc opus exegi: fessae date serta carinae; / contigimus portus, quo mihi cursus erat I have completed this work: give the crown to my exhausted vessel; / we have reached our port, to which my course led me (811 12); cf. A.A. 2.9 10, 3.99 100, 3.500; Rem. 70, 489, 531 2, 739 40, 789 90 ; Fasti 1.3 4, 7 72, 3.747 8. It is perhaps quite ironic that Ovid would recycle the primary compositional metaphor of his controversial Ars in the Tristia and ex Ponto. 7 On the genus tenue/genus grande distinction, see Cody (1976: 83 7). Callimachus Hymn 2.105 12 compar See Cameron (1995: 403 7); Harrison (2007: 1); cf. O vids poetic boat in a tiny lake ( in exiguo cumba lacu Tr. 2.330). Ovids self conscious poetic vehicle (appropriately a ship, in light of Callimachus Hymn to Apollo) owes much to the literary critical Aetia prologue (fr. 1.21 38 Pf.), which references not only the tenuis campus Tr. Tr. 1.4.9 each of which prefigure O vidian signposts for metaliterary, self critical verse. Both passages of Callimachus also include references to the purity of the poets inspirational waters, on which see P. 4.2.15 20 with Williams (1994: 73 7); cf. Hollis (1996: 26 7).
34 references to a fundamental image for poetic composition throughout GrecoRoman l iterature, that of the poets journey over the sea,8 an image made all the more powerful by the poets own enactment of an otherwise purel y literary motif. In fact, Ovids use of these metaphors in close proximity and their unique application to his own hi storical circumstances were unprecedented moves .9 By reinterpreting a traditional metaphor, particularly one so apposite to his own political situation, Ovid absorbs and even surmounts the poetic genius of other poets This pervasive focus on poetic power undercuts Ovids description of his banishment, which he considers at best an insurmountable obstacle to the composition of high quality verse, and at worst a form of suppression or execution. The first, most obvious impact of seafaring metaphors can be fo und in Ovids thematic adaptations of the diction and themes of epic poetry. As a result, frequent references to the language and scenery of epics such the Argonautica become a poetic extension of the overarching seafaring metaphor, meant to emphasize (through the intersection of poetry and reality in Ovids peculiar case) the novelty of the poetic endeavor and subsequent authority wielded by the author. 8 The metaliterary poetic vessel of Callimachus can be traced to archaic Greek verse. The Hesiodic Works and Days is among the earliest poems to employ the image, in that the socalled Nautilia contains the narrators poetic sphragis : see Nagy (1982: 66); Thalmann (1984: 152 3); Rosen (1990). The use of a to describe Hegesichora in Alcman fr. 1.92 101 appears to have escaped the notice of many commentators, who tend to focus on Archilochus ( fr. 8, 12, 13, 106 PMG ), Alcaeus ( fr. 6, 73, 208, 249 Voigt ), Hipponax (fr 115 PMG ; cf. Tr. 5.8; P. 4.3; Ibis 447 8, 523 4), Theognis (113 14, 575 6), and Ibycus (fr. S223a), a list to which I would also add Simonides (el. 22 PMG : I want to sail with cargo of the dark wreathed Muses art). The image enters maturity in the epi nikia of Pindar, where one finds the path of words ( O. 1.110, 9.47); the Muses chariot ( O. 9.81; I. 2.2); the poetic vessel ( P. 11.39; N. 3.26 7; O. 13.49); the pitfalls of poetic composition ( P. 10.51 2); destiny, fate and personal ruin ( P. 1.86, 10.72; O. 12). On these images see Steiner (1986: 72 9) and cf. Bacchylides 12.1 6. 9 In addition to Ovids unique insertion of his own sea voyage into the metaphor, the appearance of all three images at once is unprecedented: cf. the limited Greek, Indic, and Nordic examples in West (2007: 40 3). Each instance appears individually or in pairs in previous authors, but never with the frequency or density found in Ovid. Only Vergil ( G. 1.40 2) comes close, where the authors characteristicly vague language could r efer either to sailing or charioteering with respect to verse composition; see Thomas (1988: ad loc ); Mynors (1994: ad loc ); Harrison (2007: 4).
35 Thematic Adaptations: Jason and the Argonauts The goal of Ovids thematic adaptations of epic from the outset of Tristia 1 was a commutation of his sentence through self fashioning as a poet hero. If he could appeal to the aesthetic refinement upon which his addresse e s prided themselves, Ovid could demonstrate his i ntellectual and cultural value Helmut Rah n has already recognized how Ovid accomplishes as much through his frequent comparisons with Odysseus,10 but I wish to focus not on the legendary characters that Ovid adopts in the creation of his own persona, but rather the mythic framework with which he presents his journey to Tomis. If Ovid himself is worse off than Odysseus ( Tr. 1.5.45 84) and more talented than Homer ( Tr. 1.1.47 8) then, I wi ll argue, his journey to Tomis surpasses the Argonautica myth in originality: just as the Argonauts were the firs t to sail the sea, Ovid is the first to cleave the unknown waters of exilic elegy.11 In this section, I will discuss two traditions, that of the Odyssey and the Argonautica. B ecause the role of the Odyssey has been well established by my predecessors,12 I w ill here focus on how Ovid adopts the Argonautica to his own comparison between poetry and sailing. This association figures prominently in programmatic positions: Tr istia 1.1 and 1.10, two poems that demonstrate Ovids commitment to the Argonautica myth a s a means to 10 Rahn (1958). See Tr. 1.2.11 12, esp. 1. 5.57 80, 3.11.61 2, 5.5.1 4, 5.5. 51 2; P 2.7.57 64, 2. 9.41 2, 3.1.53, 3.6.19 20, 3.6.29 30, 4.10.21 8, 4. 14.33 6. 11 The primacy of the Argos voyage to Pontus is evidenced at P. 3.1.1: aequor Iasonio pulsatum remige primum (sea first struck by the Jasons oars); cf. Met. 6.719 21: ergo ubi concessit tempus puerile iuvent ae, / vellera cum Minyis nitido radiantia villo / per mare non notum prima petiere carina, And so when childhood ended they they sought out the brilliant pelt, with shiny fur, along with the Minyans, on a ship through the unknown sea, and Od. 12.69 72, i n which the Argo is described as known to all ( 70), an important comment not only on the primacy of the myth (for the epithet to make sense it must be thought to predate the Odyssey), but also on the popularity of that epic tradition; see Heubeck and Hoekstra (1989: 2.121); West (2005); H arrison (2007: 3). Cf. Tib. 1.3.35 50, on the end of the golden age and the beginning of martial epic with the sailing of the Argo. 12 On epic and the Odyssey in Ovids exilic epistles, esp. Tr. 1, s ee Rahn (1958); Evans (1983: 34 6, 40) Claassen (1999: 68 72); Ingleheart (2006 and 2010); McGowan (2009: 169 202)
36 demonstrate his own originality and importance within the Latin literary tradition. Only Ovids elite, well educated readers would appreciate his self posturing with respect to these mythic tradition s, and only these sophoi would understand the implications of matching and surpassing Odysseus, Jason, Homer and Apollonius Although the Argo myth takes a backseat to the Odyssey in the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto,13 its first reference (placed at the e nd of Ovids first exilic book, Tr. 1.10) creates a powerful subtext for Ovids adoption of a mythoepic persona meant to emphasize his poetic authority .14 T r istia 1.10 includes an extensive, veiled comparison between Ovids poetic act and the Argo myth, a particularly poignant tactic, since this p oem recounts the authors historic journey to Tomis The Argo myth becomes important then, for Ovids characterization of his journey as a new Argonautica (a role that functions alongside frequent comparisons between the author and Odysseus ): his exilic e legy is a poetic endeavor as daring as the first ship to ever sail the open ocean. On its surface, T r istia 1.10 purports to be a geographic description of Ovids journey to Tomis, yet a close reading reveals thematic references to the Argo myth. The poem opens with a prayer to Minerva ( T r 1.10.1 4) : Est mihi sitque, precor, flauae tutela Mineru ae, nau is et a picta casside nomen habet. 13 For the Odyssey and Odysseus see Tr. 1.1.105 14 (the Ars is called Telegonus, cf. Ibis 567 8), 1 .5. 45 84; 3.9.61 2, 5.5.1 4 51 2 ; P. 3.1.53 4, 6.19 20 (cf. Ibis 277 8) 4.10.9 34, 14.35. For Ja son and the Argonauts: Tr. 1.4.21 46 ; P. 1.3.75 6. 14 In this section I will present new evidence for the relationship between Ovids exilic persona and that of Jason and the Argonauts, crucial to the poets self representation as one who explores the novel waters of original poetry. On the authors association between his own person and mythic exempla see Rahn (1958); Broege (1972); Nisbet (1982: 51 2); Claassen (2001: 32 4); McGowan (2009). Rahn (1958: 106) is especially informative with regards Ovids Odysseus Rolle : [at this point] the old game of mythological disguise enters a new, incomparably more significant [area] the elegiac epistle becomes the means of poetic self representation, that the author has designed and suggested his own fate in his poetry. For Ovids persona (often considered in light of his erotodidactic role in amatory elegy), see Nagle (1980: 71 82); Kenney (1982: 443); Chwalek (1996: 32 3); Amann (2006: 45).
37 siue opus est u elis, minimam bene currit ad auram, siu e opus est remo, remige carpit iter. As there is now, may there ever be, for me, I pray, blonde Minervas protection, and my ship bears her name from her painted helm. Whether she needs sails, she runs well under the slightest breeze, or if its the oar thats needed, the rowers rush her journey onward.15 Ovid s ship is not only blessed and protected by Minerva, famous for her oversight of Odysseus and Telemachus in the Odyssey,16 but its very construction is a testament to her influence: the Latin tutela can refer to the intangible protection provided by a deity, as wel l as the actual image of the god or goddess attached to the bow of a ship. These lines connect the poetics of Tristia 1 with the primary seavoyage of the Argo : both Ovids vessel and that of the Argonauts were constructed under the protection of Minerva,17 and both, through the association of poetry and seafaring, undertook a novel and dangerous endeavor. Because Tr istia 1.11 forms a sort of epilogue, in which Ovid describes the circumstances of composition for the previous ten poems (1.11.1 2) and direct ly addresses his poetic audience, rather than a hidden addressee ( candide lector 1.11.35), poem 1.10 closes out the action of the first book. In fact, Ovid recalls the structure of Callimachus Aetia which also effectively ended with a return to the Argo 15 All translations are my own. 16 Rahn (1958: 115 118) considers these li nes evidence for his Odysseus Rolle Although right in assigning them to Ovids self glorifying comparisons with Odysseus, he misses the key references to Minervas role in the construction of the Argo and thus the doubleheaded comparison: Minerva protec ts Ovid/Odysseus as a character, but also oversees Ovids exilic poetry/Argonautic journey. Cf. Nagle (1980: 166), who considers Ovids special relationship with Minerva: he was born on the day of her festival, the Quinquatrus ( Tr. 4.10.13 14). 17 Cf. Tr. 3 .9.7, on the Argo : nam rate, quae cura pugnacis facta Mineruae; for the poets association between Minerva and his verse, see also Tr. 3.14.13 14: Palladis exemplo de me sine matre creata / carmina sunt: stirps haec progeniesque mea est
38 myth.18 Ovids return functions, however, as an extended self aggrandizement19 familiar from, for example, the conclusion of the Metamorphoses (15.871 9), but hidden in a reference to the Argonautica ( Tr. 1.10.5 12) : n ec comites u olucri contenta eu incere cursu, 1.10.5 occupat egressas quamlibet ante rates, fert pariter flatus atque as sili entia longe aequora, nec saeuis uicta fatiscit aquis. illa, Corinthiacis primum mihi cognita Cenchreis, fida manet trepidae duxque comesque fugae, 1.10.10 perque tot et u ento s et iniquis concita uentis aequora Palladio munere tuta fugit Neither is she content to defeat her companions with her swift course, but she overtakes other ships no matter how much earlier they set out, and equally she bears the blowing wind s and the dashing waves, nor does she grow weary, defeated by savage waters. She, first known to me in Corinthian Cenchreae, remained faithful as both leader and companion in fearful flight, safe by the gift of Minerva through so many winds and waves stirred up by hated gales. The Minerva (Ovids ship) acts as code for his poetry and as such it outstrips ( vincere 5 ) other vessels on similar paths (contemporary poets), even those that set out earlier ( egressasante rates, his Latin and Greek predecessors ). She is also unaffected by the dangers of the sea ( 7 8) a second code for the unpredictable nature of individual fortune a major theme in Ovids exilic epistles.20 Finally, the Minerva was Ovids leader and companion in exile ( trepidae duxque comesque fugae 10), and his source of safety ( tutela, 1.10.1; tuta 12). The protective guidance of his ship intersects with Ovids 18 Fr. 108 Pf. ( Coma Berenices which was most likely added in a later edition. 19 See Nagle (1980: 71 109; 165 66) for Ovids self glorification (e.g. Tr. 4.10) in the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto. 20 In addition to those Greek authors cited above, the danger of seafaring can be found in Latin Elegy: Prop. 1.17; 2.25; Tib.3.7.173, 193 7.
39 own confessions as to the nature of his poetry: that he wrote for utilitas 21 that is, to forget his misery Just as Ovids ship had the power to protect him from the dangers of a long journey at sea, his poetry can soften the misery of exile to Tomis. Taken together, the entire encomium of Ovids ship stands as an extended praise for his own verse, which, like the unprecedented voyage of the Argo travels an unknown and dangerous path ultimately to the benefit of its pilot This interpretation of t he metapoetic connection between Ovids sea voyage and the act of composing the Tristia hinges on Ovids mythologizing in Tristia 1.10, whi ch tends not towards the Odyssey, but rather the Argonautica. Tr istia 1.10 provides ample evidence for authorial focus on the primacy of the Argo myth In addition to the protection afforded by Minerva for both the Argonauts and Ovid, the authors geograp hic list recalls the Argonautica three times The passing mention of the Sestos, Abydos, and Dardania ( 1 .10.24 8 ) begins the list of places visited by the Minerva on her lonely trip,22 which coupled with the Helle myth ( quodque per angustas u ectae m ale uir ginis undas, 27), form a familiar set of geographic and mythic identifiers for the Hellespont region. From t here Ovid continues on to Cyzicus, where he is careful to emphasize the islands foundation myth ( Cyzicon, Haemoniae nobile gentis opus 30). In fac t, the Argonauts made just the same journey (in the same order, within the same passage) through the Hellespont (specifically past Abydos and Dardania: ; the Hellespont, 21Utilitas : Tr. 4.1.7 14; P. 1.5.55 8; 3.9.55 6; McGowan (2009). Ovid also claims to write for his own gloria and that of his addressees: Tr. 1.6.33; 3.7.49 52; 4.10.129 30; 5.1.23 4; P. 2.6. For the origin of these themes in erotic elegy and their usage in Ovids exilic poetry, see Stroh (1971: 235 49, 250 53, 262 63); Nagle (1980: 71 80). 22 O vid chose a land route from Thrace to Tomis: nam mihi Bistonios placuit pede carpere campos, 1.10.23.
40 1.935) finally arriving at Cyzicu s. There, an extended stay by the Argonaut s (1.936 1078) resulted in the tragic death of the citys eponymous founder.23 As if these references were too heav ily veiled for Ovids learned readers, the Minerva next passes safely through the Cyaneae ( transeat instabilis strenua Cyaneas 1.10.34) past Thynia and Apollos city. While Thynia may be a veiled reference to the famous prophet of Arg onautica 2, Phineas,24 the mention of the Cyaneae and Apollo are surely meant to echo the opening lines of the Argonautica (1.1 4) : I begin with you, Phoebus, as I recall the famous deeds of ancient born men, who at the comm and of King Pelias, through the mouth of the Pontus and past the Cyanean rocks drove the well benched Argo after the Golden Fleece. Ovid situates his journey to Tomis within the realm of a preOdysse an tradition. Just as Ovids ship, the Minerva sails thr ough the physical landscape of the Pontus region, so too does his poetry venture through the original poetic landscape of the Argonautica, placing Ovids own poetic contribution alongside the o rigins of Greek and Latin poetry To further emphasize his self association with the Argo myth and to balance his prayer to Minerva, with which he opened the poem, Ovid closes Tristia 1.10 with a prayer to two of the more famous Argonauts, Castor and Pollux ( Tyndaridae, 1.10.45) He asks that they may favor his ship, whether it pass through the Symplegadae ( parat 23 Arg. 1.948 9), who himself may have been among the Argonauts, though this is not the case in Apollonius account. For a list of the Argonauts see Apollon. 1.32 228; Apollod. 1.9.16; Hyg. Fab. 14. 24 Part of Bithynia, named for Thynus, the son of Phineas, who figures prominently in Arg. 2.178 528.
41 Symplegadas ire per artas 47) or sail the Bistonian seas ( scindere Bistoniasaquas 48). Just as Ovids poetic peripl o us in Tristia 1.10 can be traced back to the Argonautica, so too can his over arching ass ociation between nav igation and poetic composition. When the Argonauts disembark Apollonius compares their rowing to a choral dance (1.536 41) : 1.540 And just as young men begin a dance to Phoebus or Pytho, whether at Ortygia or around the waters of Ismenus, and together, around the altar to the rhythm of the lyre in time they strike the ground with swift feet so they struck the surging sea with their oars to the sound of Orpheus lyre, and the waves crashed over their blades. From its outset the n arrative progression of Apollonius epic is couched in metaphors relating seafaring and poetry. A long string of adverbial modifiers emphasizes the harmony and rhythm of the Argonauts rowing motion: like dancers they move to the sound of the lyre ( 538) together ( 538) and in time ( 539). Apollonius reverses the imagery of Alcmans P artheneion (fr. 1.92 101 PMG ) which compared dancers to sailors and their leader (Hegesichora) to a helmsman. Instead (or perhaps, in keeping with the archaic image), Apollonius sailors are like dancers, striking the sea ( 541 2) with the same musicality that dancers move about the altar ( 538) and the leader is no helmsman, but the archet ypal poet himself, Orpheus. It is this association, between sailing and poetry, with which Ovid colors his Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto an
42 important and effective comparison because Ovid enacts both sides of the metaphor, that is, he is helmsman of bot h his exilic letters and the Minerva But we need not rely solely on similarities between Ovidian metaphors and those of his predecessors: the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto contain diction suited to Ovids metaliterary connection between sailing and poetr y, meant to emphasize the novelty of his endeavor. As Helmut Rahn has argued, Ovids mythologizing in Tristia 1 sets the stage for his OdysseusRolle throughout the first book Indeed, Rahn calls the first book Ovids Odyssey. 25 To this argument I have added Ovids extensive adaptation of the Argo myth, crucially at the close of Tristia 1, where Ovid recaps his mythopoetic journey not in terms of the Od yssey, but in fact the earlier voyage of the Argonauts. This return to the origins of poetry itself (b ot h the Odyssey and the Argo myth) signals Ovids claim to poetic ingenuity and preeminence, and is replayed throughout his adaptations of the poetic vessel and ship of fate metaphors outlined below The return is also indicated, however, by Ovids use o f a Latin vocabulary whose semantic range emphasized the conflation of the poetic act with navigation. Metapoetic Adaptations: T he Vocabulary of Sailing Ovids claims to poetic novelty through a reenactment of the Argo myth paralells the work of other Lat in poets who had previously employed the same diction and themes in order to demonstrate their originality.26 Indeed, Ovids poetic journey to Tomis can be seen as an enactment of what had become a popular poetic device in the late republic and early empir e. Catullus for example, drew heavily on the Argonautica for his 25 Rahn (1958: 116). 26 Particularly Vergil and Catullus: see Nelis (2001); Harrison (2007).
43 epyllion (poem 64) and provides an earlier example of the type of the themes outlined above, as well as the vocabulary crucial to Ovids self fashioning (64.1 12) : Peliaco quondam prognatae vertice pinus dicuntur liquidas Neptuni nasse per undas Phasidos ad fluctus et fines Aeeteos, cum lecti iuvenes, Argivae robora pubis, auratam optantes Colchis avertere pellem 64.5 ausi sunt vada salsa cita decurrere puppi, caerula verrentes abiegnis aequora palmis. diva quibus retinens in summis urbibus arces ipsa levi fecit volitantem flamine currum, pinea coniungens inflexae texta carinae. 64.10 illa rudem cursu prima imbuit Amphitriten. quae simul ac rostro ventosum proscidit ae quor They say that pine trees born atop Pelion once sailed through the flowing waters of Neptune to the Phasian waves and the borders of Aeetes, when select young men, the strength of the Argive youth, desiring to snatch the golden fleece from Colchis dared to rush over salt waves in a swift ship, brushing the deepblue seas with palm wood oars. The goddess who looks over citadels in the high cities herself made the craft, which would fly under a gentle breeze, joining together the worked pine beams of the curved ship. That boat first touched the youthful sea with its course. As soon as it carved the windy sea with its bow Stephen Harrison has argued that these references to the Argonautica extend beyond shared plot: Catullus epyllion is so unique in the history of Latin literature that it effectively rewrites the book on epic (with a nod to Hellenistic compositional aesthetics), making his contribution at least as important as the very institution of the genre itself, embodied in the Argo myth.27 The lang uage and themes recall the metapoetry of Pindar and Callimachus, first through emphasis on the vessel itself, and second on the seafaring path of the ship. Pindar focused on his own poetic vessel, whether ship ( P. 11.39; N. 3.26 7; O. 13.49) or chariot ( O. 9.81; I. 2.2 ). In Catullus currum (chariot, 64.9) can function as a poetic expression for a boat ( OLD 2 ). Harrison groups this 27 Harrison (2007: 3 4).
44 expression with decurrere (6) and cursu (11), both of whi ch recall the progress of poetry or prose.28 Catullus cursu ( 11) over the sea ( aequora, 7 and aequor 12) recalls Apollos warning in the Aetia that the poet should stick to untried paths ( 1. 26 7 Pf. ), and his estimation of the immensity of epic (things as great as the ocean, Hymn 2.106 Pf., or the flow of the Assyrian river, Hymn 2. 108 Pf.). Finally the plow ing motion of proscidit (12) can also be used in poetic fashion to refer to the composition of verse. In fact, plow ing in general was rel a ted both to the act of writing29 as well as sailing,30 making it the perfect verb for connecting the two disparate images.31 Fundamental for our discussion must be Ovids etymological link between his place of exile, Tomis, and the Greek in Tr istia 3.9 This connection plays on the alternating usage of the verb for sailing/writing and emphasizes the authors overlap between his exilic reality and the fictions of his exile poetry Finally, t he Argonauts dared ( ausi sunt 6) to set out over the sea, in keeping with the literary d angers faced by a poet .32 28 Cf. the usage to read through in Quin. 9.2.48, 10.3.17; Plin.7.16.15; or to sing in Stat. Silv. 5.3.149: equum pugnasque virum decurrere versu, which must be related to the passage Harrison (2007: 4) cites from Hor. Sat 1.10.1: incomposito dixi pede currere versus 29 Of plowing: Lucr. 5.209; Var. R. R. 1.10.1, 27.2, 29.2; Verg. G. 2.237; of writing: Cic. Att. 12.1, 13.38, 16.6; Fam. 9.26, 12.20; cf. Tr. 3.7.1 2 (which may refer to either writing or versification); of composing verse : Prop. 3.5.19: me iuvat in prima coluisse Helicona iuventa, it was helpful for me to cultivate Helicon, in my youth, i.e. to compose poetry, cf. P. 4.2.11 12; of satirical or defamatory verse: P. 4.16.47; Suet. Aug. 13, Calig. 30. Ingleheart (2010: 274) notes that verbs of plowing are used for verbs of writing in the early fragments of Roman Comedy: Atta Com. 13; Tintin. Com. 160; cf. Mart. 4.86.12: inuersa pueris arande charta. 30 Aen. 2.780; Am. 2.10.33; Met. 4.707. 31 Cf. the use of plowing or cutting verbs in Greek poetry: Od. 2.434; Ibycus fr. S223a PMG : Pyth. 6.1 4, Nem. 6.33; Call. fr. 399 Pf., fr. 572 Pf.; Apollon. 1.1167, 2.332 33, 660 68, 774 5, 4.225 6, 980; Prat. fr. 712 PMG 32 Pin. P. 10.51 2; cf. Prop. 1.17.
45 Vergil draws on similar vocabulary for those crucial moments when he comments on his own poetic enterprise, such as the course ( cursum ) and daring undertakings ( audacibus coeptis ) in his programmati c address to Caesar ( da facilem cursum atque audacibus adnue coeptis give an easy course and nod assent to my daring beginnings, G. 1.40 1) .33 The movement of Catullus (as well as the Argonauts) through the Argo myth is echoed by Vergils use of decurrere to describe Maecenas reading of the Georgics ( tuque ades inceptumque una decurre laborem and you be favorable and go through the work Ive begun, 2.39). At crucial points in the Aeneid as well Vergil makes programmatic references to the ocean. When A eneas leaves Troy, prepared to begin his miniature Odyssey, Creusa prophes ies that there is a vast level of ocean ( vastum maris aequor ) which Aeneas must plow ( arandum 2.780 2 ), a veiled reference to the remaining books of the Aeneid Furthermore, when the epic transitions to its Odyssean section (books 3 6), Aeneas proclaims feror exul in altum I am born an exile on the deep (3.11). This stresses the voyage of the poem in literal and metaliterary terms. When Vergil begins the Iliadic section of his epic (books 7 12), Aeneas sets sail, once again (after burying Caieta, Aen 7.5 7), only this time on quiet seas, as opposed to the stormy weather in which we first encounter him .34 33 Harrison (2007: 4 5). 34 Harrison (2007: 6 7). To Harrisons analysis we might add [Tibullus] 4.1.191 6 (=3.7.192 7), in which the author promises to engage both Pierian homage ( Pierii honores 191) in his poetry for Messala, and to dare ( ausim, 193) to venture out over the swift waves of the (presumably epic) sea ( rapidas maris ire per undas 193). For Propertius, the image of the poetic vessel defines the limits of love elegy and his own poetic process: cf. 1.6.1 2, 2.14.1 4, 29 30, 2.25, 26a; 3.3.15 16, 9 ( passim ), 21 ( passim perhaps the authors rejection of amorous elegy and adoption of the mythic and epic Roman themes found in book four). See also Hor. Od. 4.15.3 4; Manilius 3.26.
46 Seafaring Language in Ovid Just as Catullus in poem 64, so Ovid frames his poetic act with r eferences to the Argo tradition as a means to emphasize poetic originality.35 Indeed, the extent to which he adopts the two categories of sailing metaphors (the ship of life and poetic vessel ) to this end in the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto is staggering.36 In each case, these passages highlight his poetic redirection towards the roots of Greek poetry. By rewriting him self into the elegiac tradition and consequently altering the very nature of the epic and elegiac genres, Ovid demonstrat es his own centrality to the history of Latin literature. B ecause of Ovids banishment however, metaphors of sailing are applicable to his historic journey to Tomis as well as to his poetic act effectively surpassing previous uses in extant Latin literat ure which were merely poetic tropes with little to no basis in reality Ovid achieves even greater fame because he was exiled: imperial banishment becomes yet another weapon in the poets arsenal of self glorification as he can now enact the popular poet ic metaphor, unlike any other previous poet .37 First, b y adopting the language of his predecessors, Ovid demonstrates his debt : the use of seafaring imagery established originality and popularity for the poetic programs of Catullus and Vergil, but only Ovid lived what he wrote.38 H aving thus surpassed the accomplishments of his predecessors, Ovids statements on poetic authority defy imperial attempts to silence the poet or torture his genius with exile. 35 On this phenomenon see esp. Breed (2000). 36 A count from the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto based on passages gathered manually for this project yields sixty one separate sailing metaphors, and nearly as many independent instances of other metapoetic images, such as charioteering or farming. 37 Ingleheart (2010: 120 21) identifies the novelty of this usage, but not its pervasive importance. 38 A claim Ovid prides himself on at Tr. 1.5.79 80 and 4.10.105 10. He even advises Albinovanus Pedo to do the same, at P. 4.10.71 84.
47 As a case study of Ovids seafaring vocabulary we may return to Tristia 1.10. We have already considered how this poem thematically recalled the origins of seafaring through the Argonautica. Let us also consider the linguistic cues that link Ovids exilic journey to the metaliterary voyages found in Catullus and Vergil. Ovids ship sails well ( bene currit, 1.10.3) overtaking other ships in their course ( cursu 1.10. 5), just as Catullus Argonauts sailed ( decurrere 64.6) their own course ( cursu 64.11). His vessel carves a path to Pontus ( vasti secet ostia Po nti 1.10.13) and cuts through the Bistonian waves ( scindere Bistonias aquas 1.10. 48), as did Catullus Argo ( proscidit 64.12).39 In light of these metaliterary references,40 Ovids diction at 1.10.23 4 becomes particularly important: nam mihi Bistonios placuit pede carpere campos : / Hellespontiacas illa relegit aquas for it was pleasing for me to make my way to the Bistonian fields on foot: and for her [the Minerva ] to sail back through the waters of the Hellespont. Ovids journey on foot ( pede, 23) through Thrace plays on the poetic nature of his journey: as he travels he composes poetry in meter and divided into feet.41 Furthermore, the journey of the Minerva back through the Hellespont indicates a poetic journey within the bounds of previously treated epic, the Argonautica, though under the auspicies of Ovids new poetic endeavor. The verb choice reflects this reading: relegit (24) can mean to travel or sail,42 but etymologically it indicates the act of 39 Cf. Met. 7.1, on the Argonauts: iamque fretum Minyae Pagasaea puppe secabant Now the Argonauts were cutting t he waves in their ship, from Minyan Pagasae. 40 Ovid employs verbs of cutting for both sailing and writing. Cf. the use of caedo at Tr. 3.3.71 2: quosque legat versus oculo properante viator, / grandibus in tumuli marmore caede notis in the marble tomb c arve these words, in huge letters, which the traveler may read with a swift eye; cf. the usage of aratur (to plow or write) at Tr. 2.327 with Ingleheart (2010: ad loc ). 41 Ovid is not above this type of word play in his exilic poems, with which he opened t he more playful Am. 1.1.1 4; cf. Tr. 2.1.15 16, with Hinds (1985: 18 20), 3.1.21 2, 3.1.53 6, 3.7.9 10; P. 4.5.3 8. 42 Cf. Aen 3.690; Val. Fl. 4.54, 8.121; Stat. Achill. 1.23.
48 reading or relating a story again.43 In addition to the thematic similarities between Ovids journey to the Black Sea and that of the Argonauts, these metaliterary moments confirm an Ovidian claim to poetic primacy and originality. Just as Tr istia 1.10 forms an exclamation point to the sailing/writing imagery of the previous nine poems poem 1.11, the final poem in Tristia 1 (and a sort of poetic epilogue) more explicitly explains Ovids metaliterary program. Ovid claims that he wrote while he was sailing, and that sailing had an impact on his composit ion al act: saepe maris pars intus erat; tamen ipse trementi / carmina ducebam qualiacumque manu, often part of the sea was on my ship, nevertheless I was writing whatever verses I could with a trembli ng hand (1.11. 17 18).44 Ovids pages themselves were st ained with seawater: iactator in indomito brumali luce profundo, / ipsaque caeruleis charta feritur aquis I am tossed in the oppressive deep on a wintry day, and my very pages are beaten with seawat er (39 40). The physical connection between the ocean a nd Ovids poetry is nowhere more clear than these lines, and the image of a stained page is elsewhere used to connect the authors miserable state with the act of writing verse. More conventionally Ovids pages are blotched with tears, like seawater in p rogrammatic passages from Tristia 1. 1 and 3.1. The image is effective: just as the reader can find the stains of teardrops ( liturarum, 1.1.13; lituras 3.1.15) on Ovids pages ,45 a metaliterary reference to the immense sorrow found in his poetry, so too are they sprayed with seawater ( caeruleis charta feritur aquis, 1.11.40), physically bearing 43 Cf. Hor. Ep 1.2.2; Rem. Am. 717 18. 44 I have followed translational convention with the adverb intus, here rendered as on [my ship], with the sense of on board, though this has no such parallel usage in Latin literature, and could just as likely have refered to Ovid himself, leaving: often part of the sea was within me 45 Cf. Tr. 4.1.95 6, and note the programmatic placement of the image in poem one of each book.
49 the marks of both Ovids metaliterary epic allusions (particularly the Argo myth) and his historic circumstances. As a type of metapoetry, the sailing metaphor plays an important role in Ovids veiled expression of poetic power from exile, a point made evident throughout Tristia 1, and embodied in poem 1.10. Ovid solidifies t his position by more clearly expressing his aesthetic program in poem 1.11. Given the centrality of the metaphor of sailing in Ovids predecessors and Tristia 1 it is not surprising to find it adapted throughout the Tristi a T he M uses follow Ovids journey on paths of the sea and land ( et partim pelago, partim uestigia terra / u el rate dig natas u el pede nostra sequi partly by sea, partly by land, [the Muses deemed me worthy] to follow whether by boat or on foot, Tr. 4.1.51 2), and Ovid himself again plow s the waves as an exile ( arua relegatum iussisti uisere Ponti, / et Scythicum profuga scindere puppe fretum you have ordered me, a relegatus to see the fields of Pontus, and to plow the Scythian waves with an exiles ship, Tr. 5 .2.61 2). Ovids expansion of these metaphors, such that they apply on one level to Ovids actual life, and on a second level to his derailed poetic career, is in fact unique in extant Roman poetry. These moments, touched upon briefly above, come into sharper focus when Ovid employs multiple metaphors for the poetic act (sailing, farming and charioteering) within a singl e passage. Ovid bolsters the retrospective aspect of his sailing metaphors with the addition of farming or charioteering imagery .46 L ingu istic connections between farming and 46 Helzle (1988: 76 77) identifies Ovids use of charioteering as a metapoetic image at P. 3.9.26, 4.2.23. As will be come apparent, my findings expand upon those of H elzle: Tightening the reins therefore seems to be an image of applying ars whereas letting them go may imply surrendering to the forces of ingenium. On one level Ovid wants his reader to realize that the exilepoetry is completely different from everythin g he had written in Rome because of its lack of polish, on another level he asserts his persistent use of ars Cf. West (2007: 41 3).
50 sailing can be found in verbs such as secare, scindere, arare, colere, which were used primarily for farming : the Hesiodic Works and Days provides thematic precedent P erhaps also by linguistic extension of g uiding or piloting a vehicle, charioteering can also be found alongside the poetic vessel .47 Catullus vocabulary does double d uty, as currum (64.9) must refer to a ship, thoug h it technically meant chariot ( OLD 1a and b), and Vergil goes so far as to mix sailing and chariot driving metaphors in his programmatic statement at G eorgics 1.40 2 : da facilem cursum atque audacibus adn ue coeptis, 1.40 ignarosque uiae mecum miseratus agrestis ingredere et uotis iam nunc adsuesce uocari. Give an easy course and nod assent to my daring beginnings, and when, with me, youve pitied those ignorant of rustic affairs, rise up and even now get used to being prayed to with offerings. The aporia among commentators48 as to whether these lines refer to the easy course ( facilem cursum 40) of a chariot or ship is not misplaced: the mingling of these two metaphors goes hand and hand wit h references to ones own poetic act. Ovid cultivates this use with more explicit and extended references to sailing, farming and charioteering in his exilic epistles often one after the other wit hin the same passage, a combination of poetic motifs that was unparalleled in antiquity Each example stresses Ovids literary debt as well as his inventiveness and poetic power (through a return to original poetry) despite banishment. The combination of sailing and charioteering imagery in Tr istia 1.4 demonstr ates the authors emphasis on metapoetry: Ovid links his poetic program with the original 47 Hes. Op. 618 94, esp. 650 55; Alcman fr. 1.92 101 PMG ; Pin. O. 9.81; I. 2.2; Call. Aet. 1.25 8 Pf. 48 Thomas (1988: ad l oc. ); Mynors (1994: ad loc ); Harrison (2007: 4).
51 compositions of Catullus or Vergil (who also employed the same sailing and charioteering metaphor) but surpasses them through his enactment of the dangerous voyage. O n these grounds, Tristia 1.4 is n ot an epic lament midstorm, and thus an echo of Tr istia 1.2 or Aeneas introduction at Aen eid 1.92 101, but rather a statement on the status of his own poetry: despite the political turbulence of exile, his poetic vessel carries on, to greater themes. Diction provides the first clues to a metaliterary subtext: nos tamen Ionium non nostra findimus aequor / sponte, sed audaces cogimur esse metu I, nevertheless, cleave the Ionian sea, not of my own accord, but daring, I am compelled to do so by fear (1.4.3 4) Ovids poetic vessel cuts a path through the sea ( findimus aequor 3), similar to the plow ing of Catullus Argo ( proscidit 64.12). Furthermore, Ovid describes himself as daring ( audaces 4), a particularly apt epithet considering the danger of the voyage, as depicted in the Tristia as well as the danger of composing verse after the censure of the Ars Amatoria This adjective also recalls Catullus, whose Argonauts dared to travel the salty waves in a swift ship (aus i sunt vada salsa cita decurrere puppi 64.6), as well as Vergils daring begi n nings ( audacibus coeptis G. 1.40). Ovid claims for his verse the same daring and novelty with which Catullus associated his epyllion, and Vergil his didactic masterpiece. To em phasize the metaliterary nature of these allusions, Ovid jumps into a metaphor comparing the helmsman of his Minerva, defeated by the storm and unable to control the ship, to a charioteer too weak to guide his team ( Tr. 1.4.9 16):
52 pinea texta sonant pul su, stridore rudentes, adgemit et nostris ipsa carina malis. 1.4.10 nauita confessus gelidum pallore timorem, iam sequitur uictus, non regit arte ratem. utque parum validus non proficientia rector ceru ici rigidae frena remittit equi sic non quo uoluit, sed quo rapit impetus undae, 1.4.15 aurigam uideo u ela dedisse rati. The pine fabric [of the ship] echoes with blows, the ropes resound with a scream, the ship itself groans at my miseries. The sailor confesses frigid fear with his pallor, now, defeated he doesnt lead the ship with his skill, but follows it. Just as a charioteer, not nearly strong enough, lets fall the worthless reins around the horses stiff neck. Thus I see the charioteer guides the sails of my ship wherever the force of the waves take him, not where he desires to go. Again, a close reading of verbal clues is informative. The expression pinefabric (pinea texta, 1.4. 9) is lifted from Minervas construction of the Argo in Catullus 64 ( pinea coniungens inflexae texta carinae, 64 .10).49 Ovid describes of the storm as nostris malis ( 1.4. 10) an expression that bears a double meaning : fear of shipwreck is certain, but the Roman reader in the know associates Ovids miseries with his exile and the emperors contempt for his poetry. T he idea that Ovids ship groans in response ( adgemit, 1.4. 10) must reflect the frequent laments in the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto, further linking poetry and vessel The metaphor comparing the sailor and charioteer extends to include Ovid himself, via Tristia 1.2 : it is the sailors arte ( 1.4. 12) that has failed, just as Ovids own ars (1.2.31) was stupefied ( stupet 1.2.32) The term rector ( 1.4. 13) is here applied to the charioteer, while its only previous use was for the pilot of the Minerva at Tristi a 1.2.31 a double use of vocabulary similar to that found in 49 The web or fabric of song is another important compositional metaphor found in Greek and Latin poetry, and this expression, particularly its use in the construction of the Argo and Ovids adaptation here, may constitute a metaliterary nod to the traditional metaphor. The earliest overt reference comes at Pin. Nem. 2.1 3 (where a rhapsode is one who stitches together songs); cf. Durante (1960: 238 44); Schmitt (1967: 14, 296 8) ; Nagy (1997: 28 with n. 58 ). See also Hooley (1997: 265) on Philodemus Peri Poematon V for comparisons between poetry and woven material; West (2007: 36 8) in general
53 Catullus currum (64.9) A urigam ( 1.4. 16) is employed in a similar sense: traditionally the word for a charioteer, here it must refer to someone who pilots a ship ( u ela dedisse rati, 1.4. 16). Fi nally, the charioteers reins are worthless ( non proficientia frena, 1.4. 13 14), terminology also employed in Tr istia 1.2, to describe Ovids useless prayers ( u erbanon proficientia, 1.2.13). On its surface, this metaphor is meant to describe the fearful danger of Ovids journey to Tomis. D espite imperial condemnation, then, Ovids poetic vessel continues in the Latin tradition that values nuanced originality Ovid also employs the language and imagery of farming when discussing his own poetry.50 Nowhere is this usage more clear than in the recusatio of Tristia 2 .327 30: arguor inmerito: tenuis mihi campus aratur: illud erat magnae fertilitatis opus. non ideo debet pelago se credere, siqua audet in exiguo ludere cumba lacu 2.330 Im accused undeservi ng ly : I plow a small field; that was a work of immense fertility A small vessel, because it dares to play in a little lake, should not entrust itself to the sea. Ovids illud ( 3 28) refers to Caesars accomplishments, which Ovid here rejects on the grounds that such poetic raw material would be too fertile ( magnae fertilitatis opus 3 28), that is, incorporate themes unsuited to Ovids lighter, more playful elegies.51 When discussing his own poetic output, Ovid employs two characteristic metaphors: farming and sailing. His genre (elegy) is compared to a smaller field ( tenuis mihi campus aratur, 3 27) than the fecund ground of epic poetry a nod to the Callimachean aesthetic of a 50 Cf. the compliment for Cornelius Severus poetry: Fertile pectus habes interque Helicona colentes / uberius nulli prouenit ista seges you have a fertile heart among those who cultivate Helicon / none of them produce a more fertile crop ( P. 4.2.11 12). On farming in Tomis, see chapter three below. 51 Stated outright at Tr. 2.331 4; Cf. Am. 1.1.1 4. My reading of Tr. 2.327 30 is indebted to Ingleheart (2010: ad loc. ).
54 skinny muse Aet. 1.24 Pf.) .52 Seafaring also constitutes a reference to the poetic task within the Callimachean sphere: his boat is a small one ( exiguo cumba, 330), unfit for the open ocean ( non ideo debet pelago se credere, 329).53 Through this positive use Ovid discu sses his own promise as a poet .54 For the physically55 and intellectually barren landscape of Tomis it is decidedly negative.56 Compositional Metaphor as a Political Tool in Ovids Exilic Letters The political implications for Ovids mixture of seafaring and writing begin as early as Tr istia 1.2, wher e the literary subtext inspired by epic scenery, specialized vocabulary, and expanded metapoetic imagery contribute to a political reading in which Ovid undercuts claims that his punishment w as justified or even effective.57 At its root, Tristia 1.2 demonst rates Ovids persistent power of speech through verse, which defies imperial decree and further empowers the poet : despite the dangers of condemnation, 52 For tenuis as a translation of the Greek A.P. 46. The remark is thus not self deprecating, as the Latin would otherwise imply: cf. Verg. Ecl. 6.4 8; Hor. Ep. 2.1.225 and the note in Brink (1982: ad loc. ); Verg. G. 2.180 with Thomas (1988: ad loc ). 53 Cf. Verg. G. 2.41, 4.116 17, Tr. 2.99 102. For the elegiac vessel, cf. Prop. 3.3.22 4, 9.3 4, 35 6; Hor. Carm. 4.15.1 4; Met. 15.176 7. See Ingleheart (2010: 274). 54 E.g. P. 1.8.49 60 (farming goes hand in hand with poetic ingenuity), 4.2.11, 4.15.14 22; cf. Prat. fr. 712 PMG 55 Cf. the ruined ship and aging racehorses of Tr. 4.8.17 20, which also act as a metaphor for Ovids failing poetic powers. 56 Pontus is frequently depicted as anathema to poetic composition (see chapter 3 below). Thus Ovids (poetic) ship cant sail Tomis frozen waves ( P. 4.10.38; and esp. Tr. 3.10.47 8, part of a literary reference to the impossibility of a Hero and Leander poem existing in Tomis at 41 50, treated in verse by Ovid before in Her. 18 and 19). The poles that guide other (poetic) vessels are nonfunctional in Tomis ( Tr. 4.3.1 6, 15 18). Furthermore, Moesia is completely infertile (e.g. P. 1.7.13, 3.8.5 18), such that, as with Hero and Leander above ( Tr. 3.10.41 50), the Acontius and Cydippe myth is equally impossible in Tomis ( Tr. 3.10.73 8, also treated in verse by Ovid, Her. 20, with a clear debt to Callimachus fr. 67 75 Pf.). Cf. Williams (1994: 12 17), who considers the climate and i nhabitants of Pontus a reversal of the Hesiodic Golden Age ( Op. 109 201; cf. Met. 1.89 100; Tib. 1.3.33 50; Ecl. 4; G. 1.118 46). 57 Ovids retention of his freedom of speech and his very life (as outlined below), despite the limits imposed on both by exile, can be read as extentions to the fundamental paradox presented by Ovids exilic epistles: the princeps requires Ovids absence from the city by law, even as the poet recreates his own presence there through his poetry (McGowan 2009: 84).
55 Ovids poetic vessel sails on. The opening verses set a literary, as opposed to an historic scene: Ovid s ship is threatened by a storm at sea: Di m aris et caeli quid enim nisi u ota supersunt? / solu ere quassatae parcite membra ratis, Gods of the sea and sky what indeed but prayer remains? please dont break the beams of my broken ship (1.2.1 2). O vid opens with a prayer (repeated at the close of the poem, 1.2.87 106), ostensibly to save hi s actual vessel from shipwreck. To introduce literary constraint as well as physical danger, however, Ovid describes a storm of epic propor tions. His prayer is di rected to pairings of gods who fought in the Trojan War (Vulcan and Apollo, Venus and Minerva, 1.2.4 10). The storm itself raises mountainous waves, revealing the depths of Tartarus (1.2.19 22), a description that appears to outdo the storm with which Aene as was introduced at Aen eid 1.107: terram inter fluctus aperit; furit aestus harenis the waves reveal the land in between; the surge rages with sand. The waves do not know whether to obey Neptune or the unruly winds (1.2.26), an image that recalls Vergi ls famous depiction of the sea god outraged at the unleashed winds ( Aen. 1.135). In fact, encoded in the storm which threatens to wreck Ovids ship is poetic censure, which threatens to derail his poetic career. Epic terminology sets the stage for a readi ng focused more on the books literary nature than any actual storm Ovid faced en route to Tomis This literary interpretation of Ovids storm finds further support in the specialized vocabulary with which he depicts his sailing act. When Ovid stops to des cribe his reason for being at sea, he uses the expression aequor aro (1.2.76), recognizable from the m etaliterary images in Catullus and Vergil The language with which Ovid describes his helmsman is also telling: rector in incerto est nec quid fugiatue petatu e / inu enit:
56 ambiguis ars stupet ipsa malis the helmsman is uncertain, nor can he figure out whether he should flee or drive on: his art is dumbfounded in the face of uncertain dangers (1.2.31 2). The Latin makes no distinction between Ovid himself, the narrator, or the rector (31). With these figures merged, as is implied by the first person plural (royal we) occidimus (33), the verbs fugiat and petat (31) take on new meaning: whom (or what) should Ovid seek out and avoid to aid him in exile? Inde ed, the noun ars ( 1.2. 32) may then refer to Ovids poetry itself, benumbed and speechless ( stupet 1.2. 32) at the decree of exile. The subsequent lines illustrate this speechlessness: opprimet hanc animam fluctus, frustraque precanti / ore necaturas accipi emus aquas the waves crush my soul, and with a mouth open in vain prayer I wil l drink waters about to kill me (1.2.35 6). Ovids exile is often likened to death (most clearly in the very next poem, Tr. 1.3), and the waves of the storm, that is, the disaster of his exile, are the vehicle of his demise. The manner of death, drowning in midprayer, is appropriate to the poem in which it is written, framed as it is within a prayer to Augustus and the pantheon of Roman gods. Ovids prayer ( precanti ore 35 6) is his poem, and the storm which threatens to silence him through drowning must be the imperial decree of exile, which partially silenced his poetry. The image of the storm silencing Ovid is repeated in greater detail from a more programmatic position at the end of his opening prayer ( Tr. 1.2.13 16): u erba miser frustra non proficientia perdo: ipsa graves spargunt ora loquentis aquae, terribilisque Notus iactat mea dicta, precesque 1.2.15 ad quos mittuntur, non sinit ire deos. But I, miserable, waste in vain my worthless words: the heavy waves spray my lips as I speak, and terrible Notus tosses away my speech and my prayers, nor does he allow them to go to the gods to whom they are sent.
57 Ovid s prayer is in vain ( frustra 1.2. 13) and the very words are pointless ( u erba non proficientia 1.2. 13), because the storm has sprayed his lips with water and the winds have muffled his voice ( 1.2. 14 16). The water that now marks his mouth recalls the same seawater that blotted out his poetry at Tristia 1.11.4 0, itself a variation on the teardrops that mar his pages ( liturarum, Tr. 1.1.13; lituras Tr. 3.1.15). We can reread this passage as a reference to Ovids exilic poetry, written in vain, since exile has effectively silenced him.58 The image is ironic, not m erely because of the poets continued output in exile, but also because of the high quality and self awareness found in the seafaring metaphor. Ultimately, Ovids self representation as a downtrodden victim incapable of speech contrasts the otherwise brill iant combination of sailing and poetry within the historic sphere of Ovids actual exile. The political implications of these compositional metaphors can be seen in their usage alongside another exilic topos : the poverty of Ovids verse as a result of his exile.59 With characteristic irony, Ovid undermines his own self deprecation through references to his central compositional metaphor in Tristia 5.12. Ovid addresses a friend who has ordered the tearful poet to forget his misery through writing. As one of t he first poems specifically about poetry, and one of the last in the Tristia this piece bears a note of retrospective compos ition, since Ovid is now in the third year of his exile and has written nearly five books of poetry. Given the poems overtly self reflective theme, 58 Cf. P. 2.6.3 4: Exulis haec uox est: praebet mihi littera linguam / et, si non liceat scribere, mutus ero, This [verse] is the voice of an exile: letters offer me a tongue and, if it werent allowed for me to write, Id be mute, and Tr. 3.7.2: littera, sermonis fida ministra mei letter, faithful servant of my speech. For speech and speechlessness in Ovid see esp. Claassen (1986: 158 61); Feeney (1992); Forbis (1997). 59 That Ovids verse reflects his miserable environment is programmatic in the Tristia (cf. 1.1.1 1 4, 5.1.5 10) and can be found throughout both works (e.g. Tr. 3.14.33 6, Tr. 1.1.35 48, 11.35 44; 3.14; 4.1.1 4; 5.1.71 2; P. 1.5.17 18, 3.9.13 32, 4.2.15 16).
58 he employs all three images outlined above back to back. Ovids poetic ability has suffered in Tomis, and as such staple metaphors of far ming, sailing, and charioteering reflect his exhausted poetic genius ( Tr. 5.12.23 30) : fertilis, assiduo si non renouetur aratro, nil nisi cum spinis gramen habebit ager. tempore qui longo steterit, male currit et inter 5.12.25 carceribus missos ultimus ibit equus. u ertitur in taetram cariem rimisque dehiscit, siqua diu solitis cumba uacauit aquis me quoque despero fuerim cum paru us et ante, illi, qui fueram, posse redire parem. 5.12.30 If the fertile field is not renewed by the harsh plow, it will produce nothing but grass and thorns That horse which has stood around for a long time runs badly and it will go last among those sent from the starting gates. A boat is turned to weak dryness and gapes with cracks, if ever it is removed from its accustomed waters for a long time. For me also despair, that I could ever become that man I was before, little as I was even then. All thr ee metaphors are lined up, a unique combination in extant Latin literature, meant to emphasize Ovids poetic fecundity in the face of superficial claims to the opposite. Thus their association with the poverty of Ovid s verse creates an ironic subtext. The artistry of these images, their verbal connections to landmark works in GrecoRoman literature, and their appropriateness to Ovids own exilic journey fly in the face of the authors claims to poetic decline. I ndeed, the self critical nature of verses 29 30 adheres to the same Callimachean aesthetic of self awareness that became a hallmark of t he work of Ovids pr edecessors, such as Propertius, Horace and Vergil .60 This irony requires a new reading of the subsequent ver ses, which claim that Ovids poor poetry is the result of his surroundings ( Tr. 5.12. 33 36): adsumpta tabella est, inque suos uolui cogere uerba pedes, 60 Eg. Prop. 3.3, 3.9 and 4.1; Hor. Carm. 4.15; Ver. G. 1.40ff.
59 carmina nulla mihi surgunt, aut qualia cernis, 5.12.35 digna sui domini tempore, digna loco. [a nd now,] when Ive taken up my tablet, and I want to set words into poetic measures I write no actual verse, except the type you see here, befitting the times of their master, befitting his locale. Based on the metapoetry of the sailing, farming, and char ioteering motif s, which undermine Ovids self deprecation in the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto, these verses take on new meaning : Ovids poetry is reflective of his life in Tomis ( digna sui domini tempore, digna loco, 36) not because the poems themselves are the awful product of a miserable existence, but because the author is in fact re enacting and recreating the epic basis of Greek and Latin poetry (the Argo myth ), as well as writing about that action in a self critical style loaded with allusions to th e epicists and elegists who preceeded him.61 Ovids entire compositional metaphor, that of sailing, bridges the gap between poetry (the act of writing) and reality (Ovids trip to Tomis) in a way never before achieved in Greek or Latin literature. The destr uctive effect of imperial exile on Ovids verse is thus reversed, even flaunted: Ovids poetic authority has never been greater A similar ironic intersection between Ovids reenactment of the Argo myth and his act of composition can be found at ex P onto 1.4, where the author pairs the familiar metapoetic imagery (in light of his poetic decline) with the only extended comparison between himself and Jason in the entirety of the exilic epistles Ovid first complains that his constitution (as opposed to poe tic genius) is ruined by the harshness of life in Tomis but he employs metapoetic imagery similar to that found above in Tristia 5 ( P. 1.4.11 20) : 61 This poem, for example, owes much to Cat. 65 68, see Williams (1994: 55 7). Note also the nearly direct translation of Call. Aet. 1.21 2 Pf. in sumpta tabella est (33).
60 Cernis ut in duris et quid boue firmius? aruis fortia taurorum corpora frangat opus. Quae numquam uacuo solita est cessare nouali fructibus adsiduis lassa senescit humus. Occidet, ad circi si quis certamina semper 1.4.15 non intermissis cursibus ibit equus. Firma sit illa licet, soluetur in aequore nauis quae numquam liquidis sicca carebit aquis. Me quoque debilitat series inmensa malorum ante meum tempus cogit et esse senem. 1.4.20 You can see how labor breaks even the strong bodies of bulls and what is tougher than a bull? The earth which is unaccustomed to rest, bereft of a new plow ing grows old, exhausted by constant harvests. Hell fail, whichever horse always goes to the contests of the Circus with no breaks in his course. Although the ship be strong, it will break apart in the sea, if its never dry, cut off from clear waters. An imm ense series of troubles breaks me down as well, and I am compelled to be an old man before my time. This passage is not about poetry, but rather about Ovids physical wretchedness. Nevertheless, certain clues link it with the more poetic lament in Tr istia 5.12. Structurally they are identical: each image is repeated from poem 5.12 in its own couplet The extension of the farming metaphor ( P. 1.4.11 12) allows for both working parties: both for the bull, who accomplishes the task and the earth itself, when it lies untouched. The images are arranged in exactly the same order in both passages : farming first then charioteering and sailing perhaps according to their importance for the overall interpretation of Ovids compositional metaphor: the sailing image ( 1.4. 17 18) is placed closest to the couplet which Ovid himself occupies ( 1.4. 19 20). Furthermore, two of the images share metrical structures with Tristia 5.12. Ovid places emphasis on the land in Tr istia 5.12 ( habebit ager, 5.12. 24) and the horse ( ibit equus, 5.12. 26) by locating both at the end of their respective couplets. Ex P onto 1.4 follows the same form: senescit humus ( 1.4. 14) and ibit equus ( 1.4. 16) both end their couplets in an emphatic position. Given the similarities, one is tempted to reread ex P onto 1.4.11 20 with a hint
61 of irony. Ovid focuses on compositional metaphor in order to demonstrate the vitality of his verse, contrary to any overt claims he makes concerning his own misfortune and his painful existence in exile. The poetic subtext o f this passage, that is, the power of Ovids compositional metaphor to demonstrate poetic authority despite exile, finds evidence in the next 25 lines (21 46) in which Ovid compares his own exile journey with that of Jason and the Argonauts.62 The comparis on favors Ovid, whose task was much more difficult, but superficial claims to intense suffering mask a poetic subtext. In addition to obvious thematic references, Ovid employs the appropriate language of sailing: nos fragile ligno uastum sulcauimus aequor: / quae tulit Aesoniden, densa carina fuit, I plow ed the vast sea in a delicate bark: that whi ch bore Jason was a sturdy ship (35 6). Ovids delicate bark (fragile ligno 35) recalls, for example, his tiny ship from other passages clearly referring t o verse ( exiguo cumba, Tr. 2.327) The verb plow (sulcauimus 35) vividly describes Ovids poetic act on the vast sea ( u astum aequor, 35), and its placement forms an apt word picture, with Ovids plow ing dividing the sea from its modifier ( u astum s ulcavimus aequor 35). These are the stylistic flourishes Ovids audience had come to expect from the author of the Ars Amatoria and Metamorphoses and in no way representative of an exile whose mind has suffered from excessive toil ( inmodicus labor 22).63 In order to highlight this overarching dissimulation, Ovid further loads the 62 Gaertner (2005: ad loc. ) is informative. He notes the extremely poetic nature of the comparison between Ovid and Jas on (e.g. Aesona natus 1.4.23, 46; uastum aequor, 35; Aesoniden, 36; Agenore natus 37; etc.), and subsequently contrasts this passage with the more frequent comparisons between Ovid and Odysseus (e.g. Tr. 1.5.57 84). On the rhetorical comparison ( ), Gaertner cites Lausberg (1960) 130 63 labor indicates both the poets task ( OLD 3) and his suffering in exile (cf. P. 1.4.8). Gaertner (2005: ad loc ) adds the various epic and metaliterary uses of the term (with levis or paruus ), at TLL s.v. 790.36 9,
62 comparison with flat out lies: Jason, he claims had plenty of comrades on his expedition; not only is Ovid alone, but all his friends abandonded him in his time of need (33 4). How Ovid can make this claim in light of frequent letters professing the continued loyalty of companions at Rome and the faithfulness of his own wife defies explanation.64 He claims that while he was the victim of the gods (specifically Augustus), Jason ha d divine protection (39 40), despite the fact that Minerva (the safekeeper of Ovids ship in Tr. 1.10) and the Dioscouri (at the closing prayer of Tr. 1.2) are identified as tutelary gods in fact, the same gods who aided Jason on his journey: Minerva famo usly constructed the Argo and the Dioscouri were themselves Argonauts Ovidian dissimulation indicates a second interpretive layer: the caliber of Ovids style and wit undercuts complaints of poetic decline induced by exilic misery The emperors censure and execution of the poet has failed: Ovidian poetry is as vivacious as ever. Ovids adaptation of sailing as his compositional metaphor had such powerful literary implications as to rewrite our understanding of his self fashioning in exile. In the tradi tion of Callimachus, Apollonius of Rhodes, Catullus, and Vergil, Ovid found the perfect metaphor to describe his own exilic poetry: sailing images not only reflected his physical circumstances but also stood for his act of writing poetry, which was equally dangerous and glorifying (after the censure of the Ars Amatoria ) This intersection replayed Augustus misguided reading of Ovids carmen, but in such a way as to aggrandize the poet through association with the masters of GrecoRoman poetry equating Ovids plight and Jasons mythic journey crucial to my reading of the authors ultimate equation between the physical and poetic circumstances of exile. 64 Friends: Tr. 1.5, 1.9, 5.4, 5.9; P. 2.4, 2.5, 3.6, 3.7, 4.9, etc.; his wife: Tr. 1.3, 1.6, 5.5, 5.14, etc. On Ovids wife see Helzle (1989b).
63 So Ovids ma nipulation of the exilic journey to reflect his poetic act undermined the emperor s attempts to condemn that act. By treating the voyage to Tomis in this way, Ovid introduces his Roman audience to a new Tomitan reality Ovids novel verse is as unique and influential as Jasons voyage in the first sailing ship: art no longer imitates life, life imitates art. In navigating this metamorphosis, Ovid has matched and surpassed Apollonius, Catullus, and Vergil in poetic craftsmanship. In the next chapter, I will explore how Ovid expanded his metapoetic journey to include his entire exilic landscape. E ach facet of the Pontic universe functioned as part of Augustus failed attempt at exilic imprisonment and so demonstrated the emperors monumental ignorance.
64 CHAPTER 3 THE PONTIC UNIVERSE at, puto, si demens studium fatale retemptem, hic mihi praebebit carminis arma locus? ( Tr. 5.12.51 2) But mindless,1 I wonder, will this place allow me the equipment for poetry, if I should take up that deadly occupation ? When Ovid conflated his journey into exile with his verse composition, he u ndermi ned the emperors condemnation: his restructuring of exile into an epic journey, geared towards poetic self glorification stood in contrast to the emperors intended social an d political ostracism and enacted the emperors foolish criticism that merged poet and narrator Ovid did not abandon his rebalancing of power between poet and emperor with the completion of his exilic journey. On the contrary, just as the elements, for ex ample, posed a major threat to his physical journey (and thus the poetic act), so too does the Pontic universe into which Ovid was thrust. Ovids place of exile is rendered in unrealistic and fantastical terms because the author wishes to emphasize the impossibility o f literary production in Tomis: the entire Pontic universe conspires against Ovids composition of poetry as if acting at the behest of some malevolent deity I do not wish to argue, as is obvious in the exilic epistles, that Ovids place of exile is poorly suited to proper literary production: for this one might consult Williams or Claassen.2 I argue instead that Ovids place of exile actively inhibits the authors ingenium and that he closely associates Augustus with various aspects of Pontic 1 Mindless as in foolish, or nave, cf. P. 4.14.20. The term forms part of Ovids larger reversal of language concerning poetry and his role in society: Ovid is a genius turned barbarian due to the linguistic and cultural isolation he experiences in exile. On this reversal see esp. Stevens (2009); for the irony, see my conclusion, chapter 5 below. 2 Williams (1994: 50 51); Claassen (1999: 190 4).
65 geography and ethnography.3 Thus, the environment and locals of the Pontic region complement the authors fanciful depiction of his journey in Tristia 1 The unreality of these depictions matches that of his journey, and thus his narrative on the geography and ethnography of the Pontic region is less than reliable.4 The stars eschew their traditional guiding role in Tomis, the seas freeze and prevent navigation, and the infertile earth bears no produce. Furthermore, Ovid creates a tacit association between Augustus image in contemporary Rome and the various aspects of his exilic environment, inevitably to the emperors detriment. The stars, for example, a contemporary hallmark of imperial authority over time and space,5 inhibit Ovids continued poetic comp osition in the exilic epistles, rather than guide it as in the work of Ovids Augustan predecessors Despite the hurdles to literary production offered in Tomis, Ovid succeeds in producing poetry to the highest Augustan and Callimachean standards, continuing the poetic program begun with his journey from Rome to Tomis and further undermining the emperors attempts to silence the poet Rather than debate the historicity of Ovids surroundings and the literary sources upon which he relies the past two decades of scholarly discourse have centered on the unreality of Ovids Tomis Williams concentrates on the literary debt that Ovid owes to Greco Roman depictions of both the Golden Age ( Op. 202 12) and more importantly, the underworld. He demonstrates that Ov ids place of exile has more to do with the 3 For literature as a safe venue for imperial criticism, see Ahl (1984); Hinds (1987: 115 34). We cannot, however, ignore the important aesthetic role played by this rhetorical appeal, on which see Auhagen (2010: 413 24). 4 For this ahistoric reading, see RE Suppl. 9, s.v. Pontos Euxeinos; Vulpe ( 1959: 41 62); Podossinov (1987); Viarre (1988); Claassen (1990); Batty (1994: 88 111); Richmond (1995: 97 120). Cf. the now defunct scholarly tradition that attempted to sap factual geographic, historic, and ethnographic evidence from Ovids exilic epistle s, on which see Vulikh (1974). 5 See Newlands (1995: 27 50); Gee (2000: 154 87); PascoPranger (2006); Feeney (2008).
66 Vergilian Hades than actual, historic geography, a point he later expands to include the authors rhetoric of self deprecation.6 Claassen like Williams employs a literary analysis of Tomis. She demonstrates that the environment of Ovids exile is not merely fabricated, but a reflection of the authors despair.7 Following these lines of inquiry, in this chaper I will consider how Tomis, the Tomitans, and the Pontic universe take on a life of their own. While Ovidia n T omis is surely a n echo of the Roman underworld, and can thus be read as a manifestatio n of the authors internal wretchedness I will argue that Ovid traces this misery to imperial condemnation, laying the blame squarely on Augustus shoulders T he landscape of Pontus like the emperor himself, attempts to block Ovids literary producti on. His continued poetic output however, feeds into the same self glorify ing representation found in his exilic journey, and, as before, indicts the emperor for his shall ow understanding of Roman verse. In this way, Ovid recasts his own banishment in the exilic poet ry as an indictment of Augustus. In the final section of this chapter I will explore this recharacterization of Augustus, and ask the question, how could the emperor figure himself as a leader for the Roman elite, and guiding light for contemporary authors, if he attempts (and fails) to silence Romes greatest poet ? The Pontic Sky The Tomitan constellations function as an intellectual prison for Ovid: rather t han guide Ovids verse, they impede the authors poetic navigation. U pon arrival in Tomis, 6 Williams (1994: 8 25, 50 60). Ovids pose of poetic decline informs my discussion of the poetic journey; see above, chapter 2; cf. Luc k (1961); Helzle (1988); Stevens (2009). 7 Claassen (1999: 190 98), esp. 190: These details are purposely fantastic and have little if any relation to physical reality. They represent the externalization of internal misery, and are not the causes of that misery. See also Williams (1994: 8 25); Stevens (2009), for whom Ovids depictions of Tomis might rightly be called linguistic reversals of Roman geography.
67 we find that the constellations in the topsy turvy Pontic universe have ceased to function ( Tr. 4.3.15 18 ) : quodque polo fixae nequeunt tibi dicere flammae, 4.3.15 non mentitura tu tibi u oce refer, esse tui memorem, de qua tibi maxima cura est, quodque potest, secum nomen habere tuum and what the fires fixed in their poles are not able to tell you, tell yourself in a faithful voice, that she is mindful of you, she who is the greatest care to you, she has with herself the only thing she is able to keep, your name. Ovid had earlier requested a report from the constellations Ursa Major and Minor (4.3.1 6) as to the well being of his wife, he admits the impossibi lity of such a request: the stars are, of course, mute. The constellation most frequently mentioned, Ursa Major, is useful for practical navigation (it contains the North Star) supplying the metaphoric notion associated with the poetic act as well as Tomi s extreme cold But j ust as the helmsmans art was uncertain en route to Tomis ( Tr. 1.2.31 2), so too is Ovid imprisoned under the adverse constellations that should point the way home : p roxima sideribus tellus Erymanthidos Vrsae / me tenet, adstricto ter ra perusta gelu, the land closest to the constellation of the Erymanthian bear holds me, earth consumed by binding ice (Tr. 3.4.47 8) With characteristic rhetorical flourish, Ovid dramatizes the injustice and barbarity of his northern prison claiming t hat he is crushed beneath the frozen pole of the Parrhasian virgin (Tr. 2.190),8 subjugated to the stars of Ursa Minor ( Tr. 5.3.5 8),9 and that the sky under w hich he lives now is Lycaonian (Tr. 3.2.2). In fact, the stars are just as often a metaphor for the poets countless miseries.10 Rather 8 Cf. Lucan B.C. 2.237. 9 For suppositum as subjugated, cf. Tr. 4.8.48; Fast. 1.306; Pers. 5.36. 10 E.g. Tr. 1.5.47 8, 4.10.107 8. Cf. Thomas (1988: ad loc. 2.103 8), who cites the lists of Cat. 7.3 7; Ap. Arg. 4.214 15; Theoc. 16.60 1.
68 than function as guiding lights, the Tomitan constellations are a heavy star, which Ovid bears ( grau e sidus Tr. 5.10.45 6), and so prevent the poetic navigation outlined in the previous chapter. This oppression perverts the traditional role of constellations and stars in contemporary poetic vocabulary and reverses a prominent Augusta n and Ovidian image: the branding of constellations and time itself with the mark of the Julian family.11 Vergils Georgics a poem everywhere concerned with the movement of the heavens,12 associates the emperors i nevitable catasterism with the poetic guidance he inspires ( G. 1.32 5, 40 : anne nouum tardis sidus te mensibus addas, qua locus Erigonen inter Chelasque sequentis panditur ( ipse tibi iam bracchia contrahit ardens Scorpius et c aeli iusta plus parte reliquit) 1.35 da facilem cursu m atque audacibus adnue coeptis 1.40 O r you might add yourself as a new constellation fo the slow months, where lies a space between Erigone and the following claws (Scorpio himself, burning even now pulls in his arms and leaves you more than a just portion of heaven so give an easy course and nod assent to my daring enterprise In his final iteration (after having been envisioned as a possible ruler of the earth and sea) Augustus enters the stars and from there provides the divine ( adnue, 1.40)13 and poetic ( facilem cursum 1.40) guidance Vergil requests. 11 Such is the characterization of, for example, Germanicus in Ovids Fasti 1.1 4, an important use of the image for Germanicus both political position, as possible heir, and his literary fame, as author of a Latin Phaenomena, on which see Gain (1976); Possanza (2004). For Ovids interaction with the imperial familys celestial imagery, see Newlands (1995); Gee (2000: 154 87); PascoPranger (2006); Feeney (2008). 12 As a result of its agricultural subject matter and literary models (esp. Hes. Op.; Arat. Phaen.; Call. Com. Ber. and Aet. ). See Thomas (1988: 5 12). 13 Thomson (1988: ad loc. )
69 Ovid recapitulated this image in the Tristia and ex Ponto. B y embracing it, he demonstrated his familiarity with the image; by perverting it, he recast the emperors role in the minds of his readership. When Ovid employs the contemporary image of the emperor as guiding constellation within the context of the abnormal Tomitan sky, he undercuts his own obsequious encomia concerning imperial divinity.14 Augustus is deified on multiple occasions,15 and Ovid often employs the imagery of stars, as at Tristia 2.57: optavi, peteres caelestia sidera tarde, Ive prayed, that you would seek out the celestial stars slowly. Augustus even dons the attributes of stars like the constellations Ursa Major and Minor from ex P onto 4.3, his vantage point in the heavens allows nothing to escape his notice ( P. 4.9.125 30): Et tamen haec tangent aliquando Caesaris aur es: 4.9.125 nil illi toto quod fit in orbe latet. Tu certe scis haec, superis adscite, uidesque, Caesar, ut est oculis subdita terra tuis, tu nostras audis inter conuexa locatus sidera, sollicito quas damus ore, preces. 4.9.130 And these thi ngs will, nevertheless, at some time reach Caesars ears: for nothing that happens in the entire world lies hidden from that man. You certainly know these things, accepted by the gods above, and you see, Caesar, as the earth is set beneath your gaze, place d within the vaulted stars you hear my prayers, which I give forth with worried lips. Ovid maintains contemporary imagery by presenting Augustus as a guiding constellation for the Roman poet. However, his association between the emperor and 14 Passage to the stars was a trad itional image for deification: see Aen. 9.641 2, macte nova virtute, puer, sic itur ad astra / dis gerite et geniture deos grow in your newfound power, boy, born from gods and about to bear gods, for that is the way to the stars; cf. Met. 15.843 46; P. 4.9.125 34. 15 See esp. P. 4.9.105 18; McGowan (2009: 63 92). For Ovids take on imperial cult see Gradel (2002: 203 4); Gaertner (2005: 12 14). For imperial cult in general see BeardNorthPrice (1998: 318); Clauss (1999); Gradel (2002: 27 72).
70 the Tomitan stars undermines the encomiastic spirit of the metaphor: Augustus functions not as an exhortation to poetic composition, and thus immortality, but a hindrance. The Pontic stars, though far removed from those above Rome ( Tr. 1.5.59 62), feed into the poets negative portrayal of the emperor: as a kind of poetic stellar map, Augustus now hinders and imprisons Ovid,16 rather than encourages his verse. Despite this stellar obstacle, Ovid has no trou ble returning to Rome through the implementation of his poetic craf t .17 The journey of his poetry to Rome is programmatic for books one and three of the Tristia where the poets voice timidly returns to familiar Roman monuments and locations, including Augustus house on the Palatine ( Tr. 3.1.35 42).18 Exile, Ovid points out, was decreed for me, but it was not decreed for my little books (Tr. 3.14.9),19 and so the anonymous bookkeepers of Rome (the addressees of Tr. 3.14) should keep the authors body in the city ( retine corpus in Vrbe meum, keep my body in the city, 3.14.8). T he defiant freedom Ovid enjoys is nowhere more ironic than in his version of Tiberius triumph at Tristia 4.2.57 66 : haec ego submotus, qua possum, mente uidebo: erepti nobis ius habet illa loci; illa per inmensas spatiatur libera terras, in caelum celeri peru enit illa fuga; 4.2.60 illa meos oculos mediam deducit in urbem, in munes tanti nec sinit esse boni; 16 Claassen (1999: 192 3) coins this oppressive role for Augustus, and notes that the emperor even had a birthmark resembling Ursa Major (Suet. Aug. 80; cf. Ovids unacknowledged address to the constellation at P. 4.3.15 18). I extend this argument to include the poetic role played by the emperor in contemporary verse, as a guiding constellation that has not only failed Ovid, but also confined him to his exilic prison. 17 For Ovids mental journeys, see Viarre (1991); Nagle (1980: 93 8). 18 Cf. P. 1.8.25 38, 3.5.45 50 4.9.29 32, with McGowan (2009: 104). Ovid also visits specific people, including his wife: Tr. 3.4.53 62; Atticus: P. 2.4.7 14; Celsus: P. 1.9.7 14; Graecinus: P. 4.9.35 42; Macer: P. 2.10.45 50; Sextus Pompeius: P. 4.4.43 6. 19 Ovid begins and ends books 1 and 3 of the Tristia with addresses to his poetry; cf. Newlands (1998).
71 inu enietque animus, qua currus spectet eburnos; sic certe in patria per breue tempus ero. u era tamen capiet populus spectacula felix, 4.2.65 laetaque erit praesens cum duce turba suo. So moved I will see these things with my mind that still has a right to the place taken from me; that is free to journey though the great lands, that ventures swiftly through the sky in flig ht; that leads my eyes to the midst of the city, it does not allow them to be bereft of such a good thing; and my spirit comes, where it may see the ivory chariot; thus surely I for a short time I will be in my homeland. Neverthless the lucky populace will capture the true image, and present with their leader the crowd will be happy O vid has both access to the city, as well as an effortless and instantaneous journey home, through the very heavens ( caelum, 4.2.60) which elsewhere inhibit his poetic act. Fur thermore, t his journey, unlike those taken in Tr istia 1.1 and 3.1, delivers the poet directly into a ceremony glorifying the imperial family, space previously forbidden to Ovid s verse.20 The imperial figurehead that has imprisoned the poet in Tomis is powerless to prevent his poetic ingenium from entering Rome and attending the successors triumph In this way, Ovid fabricates a potentially damning role for the emperor : Augustus not only fails to prevent Ovids poetic output, in attempting to do so, he betr ays his fundamental characterization in the epistles as an out of touch philistine, incapable of appreciating the basic tenets of Callimachean and Augustan verse. As we shall see with other aspects of the Tomitan landscape, the stars reverse a familiar Aug ustan image: the emperors role in poetic guidance. The Tomitan constellations, despite their fundamental importance to navigation, do little to direct the author and instead oppress and inhibit his poetic act If the exilic stars are meant to silence the poet by obstructing his poetic navigation, then Ovids various flights to Rome and Italy flaunt the inefficacy and impotency of Augustus political authority. 20 Forbidden out of fear at Tr. 1.1.70 75; imperial decree at 3.1.47 82.
72 The Pontic Sea Not only do the Tomitan stars metaphorically inhibit Ovids poetic production, the y also function as a physical prison of ice in the harsh Pontic winter ( P. 4.10.37 42) : Crede tamen, nec te causas nescire sinemus horrida Sarmaticum cur mare duret hiems: Proxima sunt nobis plaustri praebentia formam et quae praecipuum sidera frigus habent. 4.10.40 Hinc oritur Boreas oraeque domesticus huic est et sumit uires a propiore loco. But believe me, nor will I allow you to not know the reason why harsh winter hardens the Sarmatian sea. Very close to me is the constellation of the w agoner, those which are extre mely cold. Thence arises Boreas and here the shore is his house and he grows his strength from the nearby locale Ovid blames Boreas, the north wind, for the terrible cold, but his strength is derived from his homeland, the nor thern constellations. This passage faithfully preserves Ovids chief depiction of the icy Pontic environment Just as the stars in the sky, this ice acts as both physical and mental prison for the exiled poet. Although Tomis lies on the same longitude as n orthern Italy, and has a relatively mild summer climate (it is home to the Romanian resort town today),21 Ovid depicted his place of exile a s a frozen hell, situated under the northernmost pole and closer in Roman mythic geography to Scythia than any historic city.22 Just as the stars reversed the navigation metaphor found throughout Ovids j ourney into exile, so too 21 See Richmond (1995) on Tomis historic climate and the frequency with which the Danube and Pontic seashore actually froze. 22 Scythia is mentioned either directly or indirectly over thirty times in the exilic epistles. See, e.g. Tr. 1.3.61, 3.2.1, 4.1.45, 5.1.21, etc.; P. 1.1.79, 2.1.3, 3.2.45, 4.6.5, etc.; Williams (1994: 12); Claassen (1999: 191). On Ovids adaptation of this literary topos (cf. G. 3.349 83) to his own circumstance, see below, n. 22.
73 does the frigid climate: the frozen seas outside Tomis obstruct sailing and thus the poetic act. We know Ovids place of exile will be more than just chilly as early as Tristia 1.2, where Boreas, traveling from none other than the oppressive polar stars towards which Ovid was sailing delivered an icy blast in the midst of a storm : nunc sicca gelidus Boreas bacchatur ab Arcto, now frozen Boreas rages from dry Ursa Major (1.2.29).23 The chill of Tomis becomes a constant torture throughout the exilic epistles imprisoning the poet at Tristia 4.4 .55 ( frigida me cohibent Euxini litora Ponti the frosty sho res of Euxine Pontus confine me ), and functioning as a reliable landmark with whic h to count the inexorable march of time: u t sum us in Ponto, ter frigore constitit Hister, / facta est Euxini dura ter unda maris As I have been in Pontus, three times the Danube has frozen with cold, / three times the waves of the Euxine sea have grown hard [with ice] ( Tr. 5.10.1 2). Even spring is measured not by an increase in temperature, but the retreat of the ice: at mihi sentitur nix u erno sole soluta, / quaeque lacu durae non fodiuntur aquae, but I see snow melted in the springtime sun, / and wat er not dug out solid from lakes (Tr. 3.12.27 8 ). Ovid extends his sailing metaphor into his time spent imprisoned in Tomis: ships cannot sail in frozen waters .24 Just such a conflation between Ovids poetic act and that of sailing must have been at work in Tristia 3.10.41 50: si tibi tale fretum quondam, Leandre, fuisset, 23 Cf. P. 4.10.37 42. 24 Evans (1975: 1 9) remarks on Ovids adaptation of Georgics 3.349 83 in his description of the harsh Tomitan winters at Tr. 3.10 supports my larger thesis concerning the poets insertion of his own experience into the sphere of literary tradition. Of particular interest is Evans assertion (5) that the addition of violence to Ovids winter landscape adds both credibility and pathos to the scene, by evoking imagery that would resonate with Roman survivors of civil war.
74 non foret angustae mors tua crimen aquae. tum neque se pandi possunt delphines in auras tollere conantes dura coercet hiem ps et quamu is Boreas iactatis insonet alis, 3.10.45 fluctus in obsesso gurgite nullus erit; inclusa eque gelu stabunt in marmore puppes, nec poterit rigidas findere remus aquas. u idimus in glacie pisces haerere ligatos, et pars ex illis tunc quoque uiu a fuit. 3.10.50 If such a sea was once yours, Leander, your death would not have been the crime born by those straits. Then dolphins would not be able to throw themselves into the breeze; hard winter would hold them back in their attempt; and although Boreas would shriek with beating wings, there would be no wave in the besieged waters; and ships would stand enclosed in frozen marble, nor would oars be able to break the solid water. Ive seen fish bound up and stuck in the ice and some of them even then still alive. The Hero and Leader myth is of course replayed from Ovids Heroides 18 and 19 T he im age becomes almost comical in exile: Leander could simply walk to his lover every night, rather than swim across the dangerous Hellespont, if only theyd lived further north. There is, however, an undercurrent of impossibility. The nature of the sea has been perverted in Tomis: dolphins cannot jump out of the water,25 and the surface of the water itself stands motionless. This imagery recalls Ovids effective use of adynata to emphasize the pathos of his exile: impossible terrors have become reality in Tomis and as such the sea is more like the land.26 In fact, the entire Hero and Leander poem b ecomes impossible to write in exile: the Pontic environment would have foiled Ovids otherwise fecund ingenium To make the point clear, Ovid concludes his image with two telling couplets: the first (3.10.47 8) recounts how ships can no longer sail the frozen sea, a now obvious reference to the authors extensive use of sailing as a metaphor for 25 A possible reference to the impossible realities of Ovids own flood at Met. 1.293 312 (esp. 301 3). 26 Claassen (1999: 231 33).
75 the poetic act. The second (3.10.49 50) describes fish locked in ice, even while they are still alive. It can be no coincidence that Ovids astrological sign was Pisces.27 Ovid depicts himself imprisoned in an icy cell, and just as the frozen marble which encloses ships in Tomis prevents them from sailing, so too is the poet pre vented from continuing the composition of original verse Tomis not only locks Ovids physical body in ice, but also his poetic ingenium rendered as wine in the exilic letters through metonymy. Wine has reviving and inspirational qualities for Ovid thr oughout the Epistulae ex Ponto, as at ex P onto 1.3.7 10: sic ego mente iacens et acerbo saucius ictu admonitu coepi fortior esse tuo et iam deficiens sic ad tua uerba reuixi, ut solet infuso uena redire mero. 1.3.10 So I, wounded in my mind by a harsh blow began to grow stronger at your advice, and I, waning was thus regained my health at your words, as the pulse is accustomed to return with a gulp of wine. The metaphor comparing supportive conversation with the uplifting excitement of drink is an apt one, especially in the context of poetic composition: Rufinus correspondences inspired Ovid to compose and to some extent healed his mind weakened by exile. Wine is further a powerful remedy at Tristia 3.3.21 2, which preserves diction ( deficie ns P. 1.3.9) similar to the passage above: sit iam deficiens suppressaque lingua palato, / vix instillato restituenda mero, now waning and with my tongue pressed against my palate, scarcely [could I] be revived by a few drops of wine. Good company and g ood drinks 27 Tr. 4.10.5 6 gives the year of Ovids birth, 43 B.C.E. (Ovid marks the year by the battle of Mutina). For the exact day, see Tr. 4.10.9 14, which specifies that Ovids birthday (and his brothers) was the first day of the Quinquatrus upon which gladiatorial combat took place, or 20 March. For the Quinqu atrus, see Fast. 3.809 48.
76 are crucial to poetic composition elsewhere,28 and Ovid early in his exile associate d Bacchus with poets in g eneral ( Tr. 1.7.1 4): Siquis h abes nostri similes in imagine uultus, deme meis hederas, Bacchica serta, comis. ista decent laetos felic ia signa poetas: temp oribus non est apta corona meis If anyone of you has an image in the likeness of my face, remove the ivy, Bacchus wreath, from my hair. That lucky sign belongs to happy poets: it is no fitting crown for my times. And again much later at Tristia 5.3.1 6: Illa dies haec est, qua te celebrare poetae, si modo non fallunt tempora, Bacche, solent, festaque odoratis innectunt tempora sertis, et dicunt laudes ad tua uina tuas. inter quos, memini, dum me mea fata sinebant, 5.3 .5 non inuisa tibi pars ego saepe fui That day is this one, on which the poets are accustomed to celebrate you, Bacchus, if the months do not deceive me, and they crown your festive temples with sweet smelling wreaths, and they sing your praises for your wine. I remember, I was often among them, not offensive to you, while my fates remained Wine is thus associated with poetic success, happiness, and mental health, relative to Ovids current situation. It should come as no shock then that with characteristic Ovidian wit, wine in Tomis must be forcibly removed from the jar s in which it has frozen solid: nudaque consistunt, formam servantia testae, / uina, nec hausta meri, sed data frusta bibunt wine stands bare, preserving the shape of its jar, nor do they drink in gulps of wine, but chunks given them in vain (Tr. 3.10.23 4).29 Finally, the context of 28 For company, see, e.g. Tr. 3.14.39 42. For wine and poets, see Tr. 2.363 4, 2.445 6; cf. Cat. 27, 50: the physical impact of verse composition and love on Catullus (e.g. poem 50) is similar to that of wine on Ovid at P. 1.3.10. 29 Cf. Xen. Anab 7.4.3; Fitton Brown (1985: 19). Richmond (1995: n. 11) provides these sources and a sound analysis of the historic likelihood of freezing ocean water and wine (at 4 F).
77 Tristia 3.10 supports the assoc iation between ice and physical or mental imprisonment: much of the poem centers on the extreme Tomitan winter, specifically the freezing of the Black Sea and Danube ( 3.10. 25 40 ) and the chunks of water which must be extracted from pools in order to drink in the winter ( 3.10. 26) Similar imagery returns in ex P onto 4.7.7 8, where the poet describes his loathsome place of exile to Vestalis: Ipse uides certe glacie concrescere Pontum, / ipse uides rigido stantia uina gelu; you yourself see Pontus frozen solid in ice, you yourself see wine standing rigid with frost Wine, as metonymy for Ovids poetic ingenium is rui ned by the harsh conditions of the Pontic environment The Pontic Earth Like the Pontic sky and sea, the Tomitan countryside obstructs not only Ovids physical health, but also his mental powers and poetic ingenium Ovid makes explicit comparisons between his pleasant physical surroundings in Rome and the miserable landscape of his Tomitan exile: non haec in nostris, ut quondam, scripsimus hortis, / nec, consuete, meum, lectule, corpus habes I havent composed these verses, such as they are, in my garden, nor did my customar y couch support my body ( Tr. 1.11. 37 8 ) .30 Contemporary poetic vernacular employed agricultural production as a metaphor for the fecundity of the poets mind a major poetic device explored in chapter two, above. Ovid himself so complim ents Cornelius Severus mental fertility in ex P onto 4.2: fertile pectus habes interque Helicona colentes / uberius nulli prouenit ista seges You have a fer t ile heart, and among those cultivators of Helicon, none g ives forth a more 30 The comparison between Rome and Tomis is most clear at P. 1.8, where, Williams (1994: 26 34) argues that Rome forms an intellectual, rural urban paradise, and Tomis is a backward hell ( Stygias 27); cf. the lack of intellectual pursuits and companionship in Tomis in, e.g. Tr. 3.14.37 40 and 4.1.89 90.
78 abundant crop (11 12) .31 The Pontic landscape is of course ill suited to agricultural production, much as the sea and sky were incapable of supporting navigation. The barren plains are un productive ( non ager hic pomum, non dulces educat uuas, / non salices ripa, robora monte ui rent no field here bears fruit, nor sweet grapes, no banks are blanketed with willow trees, or mountains verdant with oak, P. 1.3.51 2), and at best produce only bitter wormwood.32 Ovid illustrates the natural impediments to literary production found in the Tomitan landscape with a metaphor similar to that used with the frozen sea ( Tr. 3.10.71 5): non hic pampinea dulcis latet uu a sub umbra, nec cumulant altos feruida musta lacus. poma negat regio, nec haberet Acontius in quo scriberet hic dominae uer ba legenda suae. a spicere e st nudos s ine fronde, sine arbore, campos 3.10.75 No sweet grape lies hidden under leafy shade, nor does bubbly must accumulate in deep vats. Fruits are denied to this region, and would not Acontius have anything on which he might write words to be ready by his mistress. You can see bare fields without leaves, without trees Wine, as before, is notably missing from the Pontic landscape (3.10.71 2), and so too is Ovids ostensible poetic genius. The same infertility that leads to the lack of wine in Tomis also ruins agriculture in general, and so hinders two major metaphors for the poetic act. Ovid signals this metaliterary play by once again recalling one of his original elegiac epistles, Heroides 20 Just as Leander could have escaped drowning by walking across the frozen Tomitan seas, thereby eliminating the literary basis for his myth and thus Ovids power to compose the original letter so too does Pontic infertility elimitate 31 Cf. Prop. 3.5.19. 32 E.g. Tr. 5.13.21; P. 3.1.23, 3.8.15.
7 9 the pos sibility of an Acontius and Cydi p p e myth .33 As before, Ovid is unable to return to his previous originality, because of the adverse effects of the Pontic Universe: the land now, like the sea, actively inhibits Ovids poetic act. Pontic springs exhibit the same characteristics of disruption and physical break down found in the sky, sea and earth, and are also reminiscent of the mental obstacles Ovids poetry faces. These springs cannot escape comparison with Callimachus ideal of a small, pure fountain, and whether Ovid appears to reference his Hellenistic predecessor or simply drinking water in general, the freshwater in Pontus matches the environmental hazards found elsewhere.34 For example, t he fountain of Ovids genius is all but dried up ( Tr. 3.14.33 6): ingenium fregere meum mala, cui us et ante fons infecundus paruaque uena fuit. sed quaecumque fuit, nullo exercente refugit, 3.14.35 et longo periit arida facta situ. Evils have broken down my genius, of which even before the fountain was infertile and the source was tiny. But whatever it was, with no one to train it it has retreated, and has perished and dried up, from long stagnation. Before exile Ovids verse could be considered exceptionally Callimachean, as its source was a small vein ( parvaque vena, 34), as was Calli machus ( Hymn 2.110 12): 2.110 33 Ovids recycling of myths he previously poeticized in the Heroides ( Hero and Leander or Accontius and Cydippe) can be seen as a further rhetorical play on the impossibility of originality in Tomis. Ovid the poet m ay have lost everything when he left Rome, but he did not lose his sense of humor, indeed lighthearted appeals as a means to break up dramatic pathos are found throughout Ovids corpus: see Ahl (1985). On the playful rhetoric of these passages see Auhagen (2010: 420 22). 34 Cf. Aet. fr. 1.1 28; Hymn 2.108 12; see esp. Helzle (1988: 75 6) on Tr. 3.14.33 6, 5.1.37; P. 3.4.55 6, 4.2.17 20.
80 B ees dont bring water to Demeter from just anywhere, but from the pure and immaculate stream that flows from a small fountain, on the choicest peak. As Helzle points out ( elsewhere at P. 4.2.17 20), Ovid picks up on Callimachus parvaque vena ( Tr. 3.14.34). Exile however, has completely destroyed his creative power, and thus the spring is dried up. We can see similarly destructive or poisoned imagery in Ovids depictions of specifically Pontic waters. In addition to the useless sea water described above, Ovid condemns the Danube, which, when it does not function as a bri dge for invading forces, produces only foul, brackish waters: est in aqua dulci non inuidiosa uoluptas: / aequoreo bibitur cum sale mixta palus there is an undeniable desire in sweet water: my drink is swamp water mixed with sea salt (P. 2.7.74 5 ).35 Ovi d reverses the spring imagery above: r ather than a gentle pure stream of Callimachean poetic inspiration, he now drinks from a source similar to the Alexandrians Euphrates: the Assyrian river is massive, but it drags a great deal of mud and refuse in its waters (Cal l Hymn 2.108 9). Ovids palus ( P. Hymn 2.108 9), and emphasizes the changed circumstances of composition in exile. In fact, this allusion artfully reverses the very claim it implies, first by referencing Callimachus self aware Hymn to Apollo, and second by association with the ideal Callimachean spring. Ovid eve n undercuts his exilic 35 See P. 3.1.17 18, 4.10.61 2 and Helzle (1988: 80, n. 46); cf. Richmond (1995: n. 8) on the salinity of the areas brackis h water, who notes Arist. Probl 932a21 38 (on levels of fresh and salt water in the same body); cf. RE Suppl. 9, s.v. Pontos Euxeinos.
81 deterioration by penning his allusion to Callimachus with greater brevity than his predecessor : palus encompasses Callimachus entire multiline depiction of the tainted Euphrates. Whats more, Ovid renders this expert Callimachean c ompositional technique at the exact moment his subject matter would otherwise dictate an extensive ( and aesthetically loathsome) complaint. Ovid illustrates h is correspondence between water, landscape and poetic inspiration with programmatic force at ex P o nto 3.1.15 24: Tu glacie freta uincta tenes, et in aequore piscis 3.1.15 inclusus tecta saepe natauit aqua. Nec tibi sunt fontes, laticis nisi paene marini, qui p otus dubium sistat alatne sitim; r ara, neque haec felix, in apertis eminet aruis arbor et in terra est altera forma maris; 3.1.20 n on auis obloquitur, nisi siluis si qua remota aequoreas rauco gutture potat aquas. Tristia per uacuos horrent absinthia campos conueniensque suo messis amara loco You [Pontus] hold the waves overcome with ice, and in the sea and the fish, imprisoned, often swim in roofedin water. Nor do you have springs, except those flowing with brackish water, and the sea makes it doubtful whether theyll slake your thirst or parch it. The rare tree rises in open fields (its not fruit bearing), and the land is really just another form of ocean. Nor do the birds sing out, except if theyve come from some far off forest and drink sea water with loud shrieks. Miserable absynth bristles through the empty fiel ds, a bitter harvest that befits this place. Ovids lament of the barren Tomitan landscape can be reread as an indictment of his place of exile, which cannot provide him the equipment of poetry (Tr. 5.12.51 2) : each image recalls familiar Ovidian references to poetry and the poetic act. The fish locked in ice (15 16) recall the poets i mprisonment in exile, and the fountains (17 18), as above are here tainted with the massive, dirty flow of the ocean. Farming is impossible (19 20), again a reference to th e poet as cultivator of genius, while the comparison between barren land and sea picks up on the familiar Homeric and Hesiodic epithet for the
82 ocean.36 The fact that birds do not sing in Pontus borders on such blatant fabrication that th e reader is encourag ed to look deeper : birds elsewhere function as metonymy for the poet and their song for his poetry.37 The final couplet evokes the name of his previous work, the Tristia equating its compositional circumstanc es and product with wormwood.38 Each image paint s a picture of Pontus that is increasingly hostile not only to the exiles physical body, but also to the poets mental powers. O thers have noted the various points at which Ovid contradicts his own poetic laments.39 Ovids ability to overcome the various obstructions to the poetic act in Tomis is embodied both in his dangerous poetic journey, and the Pontic environment into which he was thrust Ovid further demonstrates his enduring poetic authority in the face of one final obstacle: the Tomitans themselves As with the exilic journey, his success over the local barbarians will have implications for his relationship with emperor himself. The Pontic Populace Ovid depicts the high level of artistry found in his work as anathema to the people of Tomis They are a barbaric lot, constantly engaged in warfare and completely lacking in Roman institutio ns of social and judicial order Furthermore, Ovid highlights their philistine nature in ma ny of his more personal interac t i ons: they mock his language and culture, and even when they can understand him, they misinterpret his poetry. At every 36 : see Theog. 130; Il. 1.316; Od. 2.370, etc. 37 See below, p. 96 and n. 16 38 Claassen (1999: 195 and n. 48) notes the equation between poetry and absynth reverses the famous Lucretian paradigm of poetry as honey on the cup of absynth, the spoon full of sugar, so to speak, which helps the medicine go down. 39 On these contradictions see Lucks (1967 77) translation and commentary, and esp. Kenney (1965); Helzle (1987); Williams (1994: 12 49).
83 turn then, the Tomitans, like the Pontic sky, sea and land, exist as obstacles to the refinement and sustenance of his ingenium Violence ( bot h brawling and foreign invasion) is a n endless threat in Ovids place of exile. While this point has been adequately analyzed elsewhere,40 I would only add that combat often prohibits the cultivation of farmland in Tomis, a metaphor elsewhere associated with the poetic act. Such is the implicat ion of ex P onto 1.8, which belabors the comparison between the rural peace and urban sophistication found only in Rome itself (an excellent setting for poetic composition), and Tomis perfect reversal of that paradigm : there is no intellectual companionshi p to be found at Tomis, and no possibility of a peaceful country retreat.41 Ovid laments this fact at 1.8.49 50: pro quibus amissis utinam contingere possit / hic saltem profugo glaeba colenda mihi! in place of these losses I wish I could have a plot to cultivate, even in my exile! The losses ( amissis 1.8. 49) Ovid grieves refer to the various pleasures of the Roman countryside ( 1.8. 39 49), juxtaposed with the joys of the city immediately preceeding it ( 1.8. 29 38). After his outcry in verses 49 50, Ovid specifies the various activities that might calm his troubled mind: herding goats and sheep ( 1.8. 51 4), plowing and planting ( 1.8. 55 8), and weeding and watering ( 1.8. 59 60), all of which are denied to him as a result of the constant threat of invasion ( 1. 8. 61 2). We might compare Ovids lament at Tristia 3.14.41 2: nec quo secedam l ocus est; custodia muri / summouet infestos clausaque porta Getas nor is there a place to which I might escape; the shut gate keep away the dangerous Getae. Continuous violen ce prohibits a peaceful life in the 40 See esp. Helzle (1988: 81 with n. 49). Those passages that lament the conditions of the Pontic landscape often climax with complaints of ever present violence, e.g. P. 3. 1.25 8. 41 Williams (1994: 26 34); see also Stevens (2009) for the larger reversal of language in Tomis and Rome.
84 country,42 but what about the pleasures of the city itself? Life within the walls of Tomis is equally miserable, Ovid argues, because, unlike Rome, it lacks those with similarly refined literary tastes and even books ( 3.1 4. 37 40). Despite the conspiracy of sky, sea, earth, and even population against his mind, Ovid maintains his literary refinement by describing his exilic nightmare with the highest Callimachean and Augustan poetic language, effectively reversing his other wise tedious and endless complaints. The violence inherent in Tomitan life extends into the sociopolitical system ; t hrough the lens of Ovids poetry this creates a mythoepic antithesis to Rome, Italy, and the Mediterranean world. Unlike the rest of the R oman Empire Pontus is home to very few cities. In fact, the only mention of a contemporary town other than Tomis comes at ex P onto 4.9.104, near the end of his exilic letters. A large number of bustling cities were from Homeric precedent, indi cative of c ultural advancement. T he pseudohistoric Homeric description of Crete as having one hundred cities provides our earli est evidence.43 Homeric societies that lack cities are invariably backwards and violent, such as the Cyclopes who have no laws nor assembl ies, nor even agriculture and religion, ( Od. 9.105 15). Now the Tomitans have a forum the site, in fact, of frequent brawls ( Tr. 5.10.44 5), thus making the Getae, or other semi mythologized barbaric groups listed by Ovid, slightly more civilized than th e Homeric Cyclopes.44 The perversion (rather than complete omission) of a signpost for civilized life brings the Tomitans closer to the 42 Tr. 4.1.69 70, 5.10.17 18. See Williams (1994: 5 6). 43 Il. 2.649; or ninety, Od. 19.174. For the diachronic validity of this characterizat ion of Crete see Pearlman (1992). Ovid elsewhere betrays his obsession with urban life, as, for example, in the encomium of Rome analyzed above in P. 1.8, not to mention the extensive urbanity of the Ars Amatoria. 44 On these barbarians see Syme (1978: 165) ; Williams (1994: 5); Richmond (1995); Claassen (1999: 190 92).
85 Laestrygonians, who, because of their agora and political systems (absent in the Cyclop es society), are much more danger ous for Odysseus and his men ( Od. 10.87 132). Ovid himself makes just such a comparison between the mythic cannibals and his own Thracian neighbors: nec tu contuleris urbem Laestrygonos umquam / gentibus obliqua quas obit Hister aqua nor could you ever c ompare the Laestryg o nian city with those peoples whom the Hist er passes on its winding course (P. 4.10.21 2). The term is even programmatic, a general comparison for the more specific list of links between Odysseus enemies and Ovids own, which of course surpass their mythic predecessors.45 Ovids characterization of the local enemy tribes is then not limited to the physical danger in which they place t he poet: in fact, their very ex istence is so mythologized and poeticized that they equally threaten his a bility to compose verse. Ovids depiction of the local Tomitans reflect s their ability to destabilize the poetic act as well as threaten the poets safety. Their inability to comprehend Latin or even proper Greek, the long established linguae francae of th e Mediterranean world marks them as among the most u ncultured inhabitants under Roman rule. Such an obstacle to normal communication implies that the locals perform a role similar to the Pontic sea, sky and earth, that of imprisoning the exile. Ovid so ass ociates all three together at Tristia 5.2 .63 70 (=5.2b.19 26) : 45 The comparison between Ovids own experiences and those of Odysseus forms a larger background to the exilic epistles, most clearly pronounced in the exilic journey of Tristia I on which, see Rahn (1958). The image continues, however, after Ovids journey is complete, as evidenced in this reference to the Laestrygonians, above. Based on Ovids optimistic view that he may eventually be recalled from Tomis, the imagery is in fact quite apt: Tomi s and the Tomitans become little more than Ovids Odyssean stops on his way back to Rome, perhaps prefiguring less dangerous stops elsewhere: the poet often calls for commutation rather than complete absolution. Had his hoped for recall actually taken plac e, Ovid may have even enjoyed his own mnesterophonia, killing of the suitors, in which he could mark his triumphant return to the city by skewering his numerous detractors and false friends at Rome. He had already begun composition of such poetry in Tr. 1.8 and the Ibis
86 iu ssus ad Euxini deformia litora ueni aequoris haec gelido terra sub axe iacet nec me tam cruciat numquam sine frigore caelum, 5.2.65 glaebaque canenti semper obusta gelu, nescia que est u ocis quod barbara lingua Latinae, Graiaque quod Getico uicta loque l la sono est, quam quod finitimo cinctus premor undique Marte, u ixque brevis tutos murus ab hoste facit. 5.2.70 So commanded, I have come to the formless shores of the Euxine Sea this land that lies under the frozen pole neither does the sky (never without cold) so torture me, nor the soil always scorched with ice, nor the barbarian languages, unknowing of a Latin voice, nor even the Greek speech, conqured as it is by Getic sounds, no, these do not torture me so much as the fact that I am surrounded, pressed on all sides by boundless violence, and scarcely does the wall make us safe from the enemy, even for a brief moment. Each image is, in turn, subordinated to th e violence perpetuated by the barbaric tribes. Violence is among the most powerful mental prisons Ovid invokes, as, in metaliterary terms, it prevents the cultivation of his poetic garden. Innate attractions to violence and the inability to understand Lati n play into a larger characterization of the Tomitans as uncultured swine. Our first indication that Ovid has a less than stellar opinion of the locals a s intellectual companions comes in the form of telling diction: his neighbors in exile are everywhere d urus and hirsutus adjectives reserved in poetic diction for rough, inartistic, or oldfashioned authors or aesthetics.46 When Ovid characterizes local barbarians as hairy or shaggy, he often juxtaposes the image with Rome or the Romans, to emphasize the culture of the latter group, and the barbarity of the former. So the distance between Tomis and Rome at ex 46 Ovid wastes little time establishing this metaphor in the exilic epistles. When addressing his own books, he makes a point to comment on their lack of artistry and skill ( Tr. 1.1.11 12; cf. 2.259): nec fragili geminae poliantur pumice f rontes, / hirsutus sparsis ut videare comis nor will your twin fronts be polished with fragile pumice, so that you might rather seem shaggy with disheveled hair, on Ovids use of the poetic book see Newlands (1998). Cf. Cat. 1.1 2, which prides itself on a recent pumice stone polish. Ovid even preserves the exaggerated modesty of Catullus original, though with different implications in exile.
87 P onto 1.5.74: diuidimur caelo quaeque est procul urbe Quirini / aspicit hirsutos comminus ursa Getas We are separated by the heavens and the bear who is far from the city of the Romans gazes close at hand on the shaggy Getae. The comparison is even programmatic, at ex P onto 3.5.6: qui tibi quam mallet praesens adferre salutem / mittit ab hirsutis, Maxime Cotta, Getis he who would prefer to be present to bring this greeting sends his salutations from the hairy Getae, Maximus Cotta.47 In each case the hirsute Getae reverse traditional images of Roman intellectual life:48 well kept facial hair matches high minded literary criticism and publication, bot h of which the local population lacks in abundance. The inability of the Tomitans to understand Ovids language and mannerisms leads them t o ridicule his civilized nature and characterizes the locals as antithetical to the Roman ideal of a cultured poetic audience. Ovid captures the native hostility to intellectualism with a clever inversion ( Tr. 5.10.35 40): exercent illi sociae commercia linguae: 5.10.35 per gestum res est significanda mihi. barbarus hic ego sum, qui non int ellega r ulli, et rident stolidi u erba Latina Getae; meque palam de me tuto male saepe loc untur, forsitan obiciunt exiliumque mihi. 5.10.40 They hold conversations with a common language: its necessary for me to be understood with gestures Here I am the barbarian, it is I whom no one understands, and the stupid Getae laugh at my Latin words; they often speak of me badly in the open, perfectly safe, perhaps even mocking my exile. 47 Cf. P. 4.2.1 2. 48 Cf. Tr. 5.7.17 18, 49 50; see Tr. 5.10.31 2 for Roman hatred of hairy barbarians. See also P 3.3.13 18, on Amors shift from well kept locks to wild and unruly hair, a change that mirrors Ovids pose of poetic decline. Love is even compared with an overly handled dove, recalling imagery that equates birds and poetry, a familiar Ovidian motif.
88 The dichotomy between genius poet and philistine populace is reversed: it is the Tomitans w ho engage in polite conversation (5.10.35), while Ovid is reduced to gestures (5.10.36). The irony of the image is palpable:49 in exile Ovid is the barbarian (5.10.37) and the object of ridicule (5.10.38, 40), rather than the figurehead of an elite society of literati in Rome. Ovid emphasizes the differences between his own intellectual background and those of his cohabitants: the Tomitans are so backwards that they do not even know how backwards they are, when, in their company Romes greatest poet is a b arbarian. This characterization of Ovids relationship with the Tomitans has interesting implications for his later notoriety among them as a poet. We have already seen how Ovid was able to overcome the oppressive nature of his exile: his adherence to the high minded aesthetics of C allimachean and Augustan poetry contradicted a literary landscape with no guiding constellations, no agriculture, no pure running water, nor even songbirds. In short, this was a world where poetry should not exist, and yet the a uthor continues to write in the highest Roman standards. Ovids poetic successes in exile have been explored extensively by Kennedy, Luck, Helzle, Claassen, Williams and others: these readings aided in the rehabilitation of the exilic epistles in the 1980s and 1990s. To these discussions I have added the fundamental role played by the physical landscape of Ovids exile, not merely as a reflection of his misery ( at which the author himself hints),50 or even a complex of intertextual allusions centered on the other 49 Not merely because the first poem of Tr. 5 opened with precisely the opposite sentiment (5.1.73 4): nec me Roma suis debet conferre poetis: / inter Sauromatas ingeniosus eram, Rome ought not compare me with her poets: among the Sauromatians I am a genius. 50 Ovid claims that the sentiment his poetry matches the disaster of his circumstance: Tr. 3.1.9 10, 5.1.47 8; P. 3.1.23 4, 3.9.35 6.
89 Augustan poets (particularly Vergil).51 Instead, Ovids Pontus functions as an extension of the em perors misguided condemnation. In the next chapter, I will explore the implic ations of this characterization and Ovids program of alienating the emperor from learned Roman society. Ovids power to overcome the dangers of the exilic journey and set those da ngers to work for his own verse would not have been lost on his most learned readers, a group from whom the emperor is explicitly excluded. 51 So Hinds (1985); Williams (1994:12 25).
90 CHAPTER 4 O VIDS AUDIENCE AND T HE EMPEROR IN THE EX ILIC EPISTLES As Ovid refined his enactment of verse, he furthered his negative characterization of the emperor in the eyes of the Roman elite by disconnecting Augustus from the aristocracy Augustus is seen as unfit to be first among equals when his ability to appreciate Latin verse is little better than that of the Tomitans .1 First, Ovid increases the depth of the allusions with which he illustrates the unification of poetry and reality in his own l ife. Complex inte rsections draw the reader from the ex Ponto back to the Tristia with the Metamorphoses as intermediary: the earlier masterpieces context informs the interaction between the two epistolary works.2 Second, Ovids identification of individual addressees all ows the author to play upon their intellectual capacities Ovids close friends, or other intelligent, well educated readers can appreciate the poets posturi ng in terms of poetic enactment. O thers, however, who are envisioned as overlooking Ovids poetic genius, are excluded from high Roman society Along these lines I will demonstrate that Ovid divided his addressees into two groups, philoi and sophoi.3 Because of their proximity to O vid (prior to exile) his friends and 1 A key rhetorical point because the emperor acts as a focal character for Ovid s exilic epistles, aligned opposite the poet himself. On Augustus in this respect see Marg (1959: 349 50); McGowan (2009); Ingleheart (2006) and esp. (2010). 2 Such is the example with which I closed the previous chapter. In this regard I follow the model lo esemplare (as opposed to the modellocodice) of Cont (1986), with the emendation of Hinds (1998: 34 47) on the distinctions between topoi and allusions; cf. Edmunds (2001). See also Barchiesi (1994) and Thomas (1999). 3 I have adapted these terms from Nagy (1997), whose methodology is in turn indebted to the system of code and message found in the Prague School of Linguistics: Jakobson (1960: 353); Culler (1975: 3 36, 64 86). For the application to Archai c poetry, Nagy (1997: 148 9; 426 7) cites, e.g., Theog. 681 2; the application to Ovids exilic epistles has not previously been attempted. Ovids addressees are a mixture of poets, statesmen, friends, and family, on which the best source remains Syme (1978). On the functions of the various addressees see Nagle (1980: 89 107); Williams (1994: 115 50); Oliensis (1997); Claassen (1999: 110 31); Gaertner (2005: 6 8, esp. n. 12). For epistolary traditions see Koskenniemi (1956); Malherbe (1988) ; Rosenmeyer (2001). Ovid did not invent the genre of verse epistl es: despite the
91 political acquaintances, or philoi appreciate and understand his poetic program, as do more distant but well educated readers, or sophoi Ovids literary allusions are appropriately suited to each g roup: sailing metaphors of the poetic vessel type, for example, are more likely to be direc ted at sophoi while those of the ship of life are suited to eliciting sympathy from philoi .4 Furthermore, the strategies Ovid employed for each type of addressee detract from the emperors position condemni ng Ovid in the political sphere and enhance the p oets position within his own sphere. In effect, t his dialogue takes place between author and well educated audience, with the emperor socially ostracized (a sort of Roman salon recreated in Tomis) .5 This fashions a new venue for Ovid to respond to the emperor, since he cannot otherwise balance his relationship with Augustus i n terms of political authority. Instead he tear s down the princeps connections with the Roman elite and his self insertion into the literature that they esteemed. Ovid effectively res tructures the conflict between himself and the emperor in the eyes of his audience by ostracizing him from his own aristocracy:6 Augustus is envisioned as out of touch and intellectually incapable of appreciating the work of Romes greatest living poet, Ov id absence of Hellenistic exempla, we can compare Hor. Ep. 1 and (possibly) Prop. 4.3; see Rosenmeyer (2001: 12); McGowan (2009: 22 3 and n. 25). 4 Williams (1994: 48 9) hints at this type of division between readers, that a section of Ovids audience would be compelled by the laments of, e.g. Tr. 5.7 and 5.10, while others would see through the authors dissimulation, as found by Williams in P. 1.8, 2.10, and 4.7: while Ovids objective might seem to the credulous reader, whether ancient or modern, to be the simple expression of sincere grief and hardship, the more sophisticated reader will find a different Ovid an exile who creates an unreal picture of his circumstances in exile by manipulating his facts to creative advantage. This O vid is no different to the preexilic poet who displayed his powers of artistic invention and capability at every turn 5 A concept linked to the ancient epistolary motif of the colloquium (anticipated responses in a letter that create an atmosphere of ac tual oral discourse), see Cazzaniga (1937: 5). On the colloquium in general, see Gaertner (2005: 7, n. 12) who cites Demetr. Eloc. 223 35; Cic. Fam. 12.30.1; Sen. Ep. 75.1. 6 For Ovids rhetorical restructuring of an imbalanced relationship, see Oliensis (2004: 286) and McGowan (2009: 2 3).
92 In this regard Ovid is contradicting a tradition that developed around Augustus after Ac tium, that is, the association among contemporary poets of the princeps champion deity with their own patron of music and poetry .7 Ovid was not above satirizing t he association between Apollo and Augustus before exile, specifically in the Apollo and Daphne scene of the Metamorphoses (1.473 567) ,8 and, I argue, in the exilic literature we find an equally telling reversal: the Roman emperor who fashions himself in Ap ollos image now fails to appreciate Latin verse .9 With this reversal we can see how Augustus, while he clearly does not fall within the realm of Ovids philoi is by no means counted among the sophoi As I shall argue, Ovid corrects the rhetorical dispari ty between himself and Augustus not by focusing on the political distance between poet and emperor but rather by changing the subject, so t o speak, among the Roman elite; he forces a dialogue centered on his own genius and the emperors idiocy .10 In the ex ile poetry, then, the focus shifts from a political and sexual deviant 7 Apollo offers to Augustan poets a symbolic site at which literary and political discourse can intersect, Miller (2009: 298). For more on the complex relationship between Apollo, Augustus and poet, see Gurval (1998: 87 111); Loupiac (1999). 8 On the many subversive or satirical readings of this passage see esp. Miller (2009: 338 49). 9 Miller (2009: 210 11) attributes the lack of continued, vivid associations between the emperor and Apollo in Ovids later work to a l arger change in ideological focus within the imperial system: from a singular emperor to an imperial family by the time of Ovids exile (thus accounting for Ovids frequent comparisons between Augustus and Jupiter, the father of men and the gods). I argue that Ovid eschews the Apolline characterization for Augustus precisely because he does not wish to focus on the intersection between politics and poetics in the person of the emperor. For Ovid, Bacchus has replaced Apollo as the poetic diety (e.g. Tr. 1. 7.1 4, 5.3.1 6): in Tr. 5.3, Apollo empowers the music of contemporary poets ( Tr. 5.3.55 8), but Ovid prays to Bacchus. The connections between Augustus and the Apollo that remain in the exilic literature (e.g. Miller 2009: 215 17, on Tr. 3.1.35 48) focus rather on Ovidian irony in the Metamorphoses and exilic poems, largely at the emperors expense. 10 For a related line of reasoning see Barchiesi (1993); Ingleheart (2006: 63 86) and esp. (2010: 24): Augustus is an inadequate reader of elegy to such an ext ent that he has failed to recognize the elegiac tendencies of literature in general, and so exiled the poet who perfected the genre. Ingleheart restricts her interpretation to Tristia 2; I will here argue that Ovids engagement with individual addressees in the ex Ponto substantiates Inglehearts argument and further ostracises of the emperor from Roman aristocratic society entirely. See also Ingleheart (2010: ad loc. 213 40).
93 outed by a righteous godking to a genius poet exiled by a philistine. Augustus condemnation of Ovid is restructured as an inability to comprehend good poetry, thus turning the pater p atriae into a little more than a malus interpres ( P. 4.14.41). As early as the final book of the Tristia Ovid started to deliver his claims to poetic genius and exceptionality with greater clarity.11 Tristia 5 (12 C.E.) provides an excellent case study, as it has characteristics of both the early books of the Tristia as well as the Epistulae ex Ponto. The programmatic statement of Tristia 5 illustrates what other compositional metaphors imply only indirectly : ut cecidi, subiti perago praeconia casus, / sumq ue argumenti conditor ipse mei since I fell, I have carried out the proclamation of my sudden disaster, and I myself am the creator of my own theme (Tr. 5.1.9 10).12 Ov id has condensed complicated comparisons between his poetic act and the reality of his exile into a single couplet. T he first half describes how he proclaims (or enacts: perago) his downfall in verse, and the second how he is in fact the cause of that verse, creating a circular relati onship between poet and poetry. P oetry enacts life, which itself is the theme of poetry. The superficial reading which Ovid himself puts forward at the start of Tristia 5.113 is meant to explain how the authors verse reflects his exile: both 11 Tr. 4.10 (esp. 105 10) provides evidence for the pride Ovid associated with ha ving lived out what he wrote: cf. 1.5.57 84 (on Odysseus). Compositional metaphor hinted at this in the earliest poems of the Tristia (against the authors claims to the contrary) and continued to do so throughout the ex Ponto. As his exile lingered on, wi th no hope of a return, Ovids pleas became increasingly explicit, similar to that found in the autobiographical poems ( Tr. 4.10 and P. 4.16), though, as we shall see, still tinted with the poetic ingenuity characteristic of Ovids best work. Those who rec ognize this program of enactment would be so addressed in the Epistulae ex Ponto, creating an in crowd among the Roman elite. 12 Cf. Claassen (1999: 190), on the function and reality of Ovids Tomitan landscape. 13Tr. 5.1.3 6: hic quoque talis erit, quails fortuna poetae: / invenies toto carmine dulce nihil / flebilis ut noster status est, ita flebile carmen, / materiae scripto conveniente suae, This too will be such as is the fortune of the poet: you will find no sweetness in the entire poem. Just as my state is mournful, so too is my song, verse written appropriate to its own theme. Particularly effective in this dissimulation is the use of the term dulce, often used in describing pleasant or agreeable verse (cf. Hor. A. P. 99, passim ).
94 are terrible, and thus the poet becomes the herald of his sudden downf all, by writing loathsome verse about a loathsome situation.14 In fact, through an allusion to his Metamorphoses, the poet reveals the true nature of this relationship: Ovid enacts his exilic experience in verse not through complaini ng but through his uni que ability to expand poetic boundaries through actual historical circumstance. The brief mention of swans within the same programmatic statement support s the reversal of Ovids claims to mediocrity ( Tr. 5.1.11 14): utque iacens ripa deflere Caystrius ales dicitur ore suam deficiente necem, sic ego, Sarmaticas longe proiectus in oras, ef ficio tacitum ne mihi funus eat Just as, while laying out on the shore, the Caystrian bird is said to cry out his own death with a weak voice, thus I, thrown far of f to Sarmatian shores, make it so that my funeral does not go on silently The Caystrian bird refers to the proverbial swan that was said to sing its own funeral dirge ( Il. 2.449) a fitting image for a poet whose verse supposedly reflects the depths to which his own life has sunk The same Caystrius ales appears in the Metamorphoses ( Met. 5.386 7) and the reference in the Tristia to its earlier usage is timely The swan image is a loaded expression: in Augustan poetry it refer s nearly everywhere to poet s or poetry, and never otherwise in Ovid.15 As Hinds has argued, the metaphor found in the Metamorphoses forms a poignant statement of poetic accomplishment, se t ting up 14 Wheeler (1920: ad Tr. 5.1.9). I find Wheelers translation misleading here, since the idiom to be a public crier, was from Plautus rendered either with dare (Plaut. Men. 1155) or facere (Cic. ad Fam 6.18.1). 15 See OLD and TLL s.v. cycnus and olor. Hinds (1987: 47) gathers the appropriate citations: Her. 7.1 2; Met. 2.252 3, 5.386 7, 14.429 30; Fast. 2.108 10; Tr. 5.1.11 14.
95 Ovids Metamorphoses as rival to any Greek predecessor.16 In the programmatic statement o f Tristia 5, then, this intertexuality recalls the circumstances of Metamorphoses 5.385 6, and thus f orms a statement on poetic self empowerment not Ovids dismal existence in exile. In fact, as a bird closely associated with Apollo,17 Ovid usurps Augustus close associations with the patron diety of poets and poetry, by out singing the other swans of the GrecoRoman tradition. T he poet steers the learned reader away f rom his overt claims to a poetic drought (brought on by exile), instead to the height of his career, and perhaps, now in the Tristia beyond. That Ovids swans aggrandize his poetic program is developed further in his endless exilic lament Following the loaded reference to swans, Ovid add s himself to a list of elegiac predecessors, including Gallus, Proper tius and Tibullus ( Tr. 5.1.17 18). In doing so, Ovid casually invites the reader to associate hi s name with other well known authors in the elegiac genre,18 undercutting his assertion of poetic decline. He then concludes the entire passage wi th a rhetorical tour de force centered precisely on the extent to which he lived what he wrote ( Tr. 5.1.23 30): 16 The plurality of song from the Caystrian swans, Hinds (1987: 47) argues, is outdone by Ovids perpetuum carmen The location itself, in Sicily, had an unusual wealth of literary variety, leading him to conclude: if Cayster too exercises its programmatic weight, another claim, perhaps an even prouder one, can be elicited. The carmina of Ovids Sicilian landscape are equal in wealth to any carmin a which the Cayster, i.e. which the Carian setting of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter can produce ( Met. 5.387 edit : note that edere also means in Latin to publish). 17 Plato Phaedo 84d 85b; in addition to those citations found in Hinds (1987: 47), see Ahl (1982) and (1985: 176 77). 18 Cf. other poems more overtly about self aggrandizement, Tr. 4.10.45 6 and 51 4, though not P. 4.16.
96 quod superest, numeros ad publica19 carmina flexi, et memores iussi nominis esse sui. si tamen e vobis aliquis, tam multa requiret 5.1.25 unde dolenda canam: multa dolenda tuli. non haec ingenio, non haec componimus arte: Musa mea est propriis ingeniosa malis. et quota fortunae pars est in carmine nostrae! felix, qui patitur quae numerare potest! 5.1.30 Whats more, Ive bent my verses to public songs, and Ive commanded people to remember my name. Nevertheless, if anyone of you should ask why I sing so many sad things: I have borne many sad things. I havent composed these poems from my own genius, nor from my ar t: my muse i s suited to her own miseries. And what fraction of my fortune is in each poem! Lucky is he who is able to count up whatever he has suffered! Ovid masks his claims to immortality behind the imperial centered Fasti ( publica carmina, 5.1.23), though the senti ment remains true for the exilic epistles as well: verse is the chariot of the poets apotheosis. The means to this end can be found in Ovids unique enactment of his poetry, on which he comments next. Ovids mournful verse reflects his mournful life (5.1. 25 6): the material is suited to its own miseries ( materia est propriis ingeniosa malis 5.1.28) Ovid emphasizes the pathos of his suffering by claiming that his miseries are too many to count ( qui patitur quae numerare potest 5.1. 30) Ingeniously, he nevertheless manages to enumerate his pains, and thus achieve what was impossible in the prev i ous couplet, with a well placed classical triplet: as many branches as are in the forest, as many grains of sand as are on the Tibers shores and as many blades of grass in the Campus Martius, so much is his suffering (5.1. 31 2).20 Finally, Ovid conflates his reality with poetic inspiration in a traditional 19 Halls emendation to pudibunda ad needlessly complicates the more than satisfactory reading of the majority of codices I have p reserved here. 20 Ovids reversals of reality and poetry (e.g. the ability to count up his innumerable sufferings) are best identified in his frequent adynata and inverted language, on which, see Davisson (1980); Claussen (1990: 231 33); Stevens (2009).
97 Callimachean image, the fountain of inspiration: quod querar, illa mihi pleno de fonte ministrat, / nec mea sunt fati u erba sed ista mei (that [fortune] furnishes me with a full fountain of complaint, / nor are they my words, but those of my fate, Tr. 5.1.37 8).21 On the surface, Ovid has accounted for the poor state of his letters from exile: the sad subject matter is reflected in their sorry stylistic state. However, given the premise of poetic self aggrandizement through the actual enactment of poetry each of these self criticisms takes on new meaning, further supporting the authors claim to originality and exce ptionality. S o the Caystrian swans proclaim Ovids accomplishment in the face of exile, specifically through his ability to endure and overcome those circumstances that other poets limit to their mythological verse.22 In that example Ovid compares himself directly with a myth from the Metamorphoses : both the swans and Ovid sing their own funeral dirge ( the swans at Met. 14.429 30; Ovid at Tr. 3.3). E lsewhere, Ovid inserts himself in the Metamorphoses demonstrating his ability to enact verse by incorporating himself into his masterpiece.23 We might contrast a characteristic list of simil es found in ex P onto 1.2,24 drawn from the Metamorphoses which seems to reverse the paradigm ( P. 1.2.29 40): 21 Cf. Call. Aet. fr. 1.1 35 Pf.; Tr. 3.7.15 16, 3.14.33 5, 4.8.25 6; P. 1.5.5 8, 3.1.11 18, 3.5.17 18. 22 e.g. Homers Odysseus (cf. Tr. 1.5), Apollonius Jason (cf. Tr. 1.10) or Vergils Aeneas (cf. Tr. 1.2). 23 A programmatic point for the entire corpus of exilic epistles ( Tr. 1.1.117 22); cf. Tr. 1.7.19 22, where the burning of the Metamorphoses is tantamount to the burning of the authors own body at his imagined funeral. 24 On Ovids lists see Gaertner (2005: ad loc ) and cf. Gaertner (2005: ad 1.4.11 14), who identifies multiple lists of exempla.
98 Felicem Nioben, quamuis tot funera uidit, quae posuit sensum saxea facta mali. 1.2.30 V os quoque felices, quarum clamantia fratrem cortice uelauit populus ora nouo. Ille ego sum lignum qui non admittor in ullum; ille ego sum frustra qui lapis esse uelim. Ipsa Medusa oculis ueniat licet obuia nostris, 1.2.35 amittet uires ipsa Medusa suas. Viuimus ut numquam sensu careamus amaro, et grauior longa fit mea poena mora. Sic inconsumptum Tityi semperque renascens non perit, ut possit saepe perire, iecur. 1.2.40 Happy Niobe was, although she saw so many funerals, she set aside her sense of pain when she was turned to stone. You are also happy, whose mouths crying out for your brother the poplar covered up with new bark. I am that man, whos not admitted into any wooden tree; I am that man who desires in vain to be turned to stone. Although Medusa herself might come before my eyes, she would lose all her strength. I live so that I might never lack bitter pain, and long delay makes my punishment heavier. Thus the liver of Tityus, if ever consumed is always reborn and does not perish, so that it might always be able to be destroyed. Whereas before Ovid sought to add his own transformation to the Metamorphoses ( Tr. 1.1.117 22) ,25 his suffering surpasses specific scenes from the work precisely because he lacks t hat fundamental aspect of each myth: the deadly metamorphosis that proves to be a salvation for the tragic victim Unlike Niobe ( P. 1.2.29 30; Met. 6.146 312), Ovid cannot transform into stone to ease his suffering (1.2.34); even Medusa s gaze (1.2.35 6; M et. 4.604 5.249)26 would have no effect. Nor can he turn to wood, like the sisters of 25 An association made all the more ironic by the fact that Ovid commands his exile poetry to ensure his transformation ( Tr. 1.1.117 22): sunt quoque mutatae, ter quinque uolumina, formae, nuper ab exequiis car mina rapta meis. his mando dicas, inter mutata referri fortunae uultum corpora posse meae, 1.1.120 namque ea dissimilis subito est effecta priori, flendaque nunc, aliquo tempore laeta fuit. 26 Medusa serves as a supporting actress of sorts in the Pers eus story, and the pivot point for Ovids transition to the next myth ( Met. 5.250 93).
99 Phaethon (1.2.31 2; Met. 2.344 66). In fact, Ovid is most like the liver of Tityus (1.2.37 40; Met. 4.457 58) ,27 marked not by some mythological change from one state to another, but by its inability to do exactly that: consumed by vultures for all eternity, it regrows every day to repeat the torture. The couplet at 1.2.33 4 hammers home the focus on Ovid himself with the anaphora of the initial ille ego sum and internal qui Above, in Tristia 5.1, we saw how the poet could claim to have enacted his verse. But because he lives through the suffering about which he writes, Ovid actually surpasses the mythological and historical exempla of other poets.28 By enacting his own vers e, Ovid both inserts himself within and sets himself above Greek mythological heroes This focus on the intersection of poetry and reality in Ovids own person, born in the compositional metaphors of Tristia 1 and refined over the course of his exile, will become the central tactic in the authors appeals to individuals in the Epistulae ex Ponto. Letters to Philoi and Sophoi : Cotta (P. 2.3) and Messalinus ( P. 2.2) Ovids focus on poetry, poetics and the ability t o participate in his own verse finds further evidence in the varying tactics with which he addresses individuals in the Epistulae ex Ponto. Poems 2.2 and 2.3, the longest in e x Ponto 2, demonstrate how Ovid varied his strategy when addressing philoi (friends or political acquaintances who might help him escape Tomis) and sophoi ( welleducated aristocrats to whose sense of esoteric literary expertise Ovid wished to appeal). Ovids varying tactics of personal 27 Tityus, like Medusa, is a minor character in the Metamorphoses whose myth does not receive extensive treatment; though see Met. 10.40 44. 28 As he claimed elsewhere: T r. 1.1.47 8: da mihi Maeoniden et tot circumice casus / ingenium tantis excidet omne malis place Maeonian Homer in such disastrous circumstances / even his genius as his would fall away among such evils. Cf. the treatments of Odysseus ( Tr. 1.5.57 84) an d Jason ( P. 1.4.21 46), both of whom Ovid considers himself to have surpassed in suffering.
100 appeal substantiate his enactment of verse and level the playing field between emperor and poe t in the eyes of the addressee/audience. We must note, however, that the distinction between philos and sophos is not mutually exclusive. Carus ( P. 4.13), for example, could be included in the philoi as a close friend of the poets and the sophoi as a fel low writer. Nevertheless, it will be helpful to provide an overriding classification for each addressee, as Ovids tactics are particular to each group. Among the sophoi we may count Paullus Fabius Maximus ( P. 1.2, 3.3), Germanicus ( P. 2.1), Lucius Pomponi us Flaccus ( P. 1.10), Rufinus ( P. 1.3, 3.4), Messalinus ( P. 2.2), Cotys of Thrace ( P. 2.9), Tuticanus ( P. 4.12, 4.14), and Albinovanus Pedo ( P. 4.10). The philoi include Pomponius Graecinus ( P. 1.6, 2.6, 4.9), Publius Suilius Rufus ( P. 4.8), Cotta Maximus ( P. 1.5, 1.9, 2.3, 2.8, 3.2, 3.5 ), Atticus ( P. 2.4, 2.7), and, of course, Ovids wife ( P. 1.4). As a case study, let us consider the rhetorical differences and similarities between ex P onto 2.2 and 2.3, which are addressed to Messalinus and hi s younger bro ther Cotta Maximus For our purposes we need note only the liter ary pretentions of both authors and their f amiliarity with Ovid: Cotta was a close friend of Ovids, while Messalinus was not part icularly friendly with our poet, in reality linked to him only through his father and brother.29 In any case Cotta may be classified among the philoi while Messalinus must fall into the category of sophoi Indeed, it was to Cotta on Elba that Ovid first confessed his banishment ( P. 2.3.83 90) while Messalinus knew O vid only through the literary praise heaped upon him by Cotta and their father ( P. 2.2.97 104). This paradigm plays out in Ovids letters: Messalinus ( P. 2.2) receives mostly 29 On the pair, see Syme (1978: 114 34); RE s.v. Valerius Messalla, Circle.
101 poetic appeals couched in simile, while Cotta ( P. 2.3) whose letter is largely devoid of poetic twists and turns, is treated as a close friend and influential part of the emperors entourage. From the outset of each poem, we can see that Ovids appeals will be appropriate to each addressee: Ovid targets the more distant Messalinus ( P. 2.2) with a formal greeting and a series of learned metaphors, while Cotta, the philos rec eives a p ersonal salutation and rhetorical appeals based on pathos ( P. 2.3.1 6 ): Maxime, qui clar is nomen uirtutibus aequas nec sinis ingenium nobilitate premi, culte mihi quid enim status hic a funere differt? supremum uitae tempus adusque meae, rem facis adflictum non auersatus amicum 2.3. 5 qua non est aeuo rarior ulla tuo. Maximus, you who equal your name to your bright virtues, nor do yo u allow your genius to be changed by nobility, cherished by me to the very end of my life for how does my state differ from a funeral? When you didnt turn away from a downtrodden friend, you did something more rare than anything else in your time. Cottas unwavering faithfulness is the focus of his letter (2.3.5 6), and although Ovid will later employ mythological exempla for friendship (2.3.41 8), this is the extent of his references to poetics and his place in Latin literary history. Cottas greeting is informal and familiar : a lonely vocative address ( Maxime 2.3.1) without any standard epistolary salutations This destabilizes the barriers separat ing poet and addressee and places the author in the physical presence of his audience as an interlocutor, r ather than distant letter writer. We might compare the friendly tone of Cottas letter with the formal, almost defensive greeting in Messalinus letter ( P. 2.2.1 4): Ille domus uestrae primis uenerator ab annis pulsus ad Euxini Naso Sinistra freti
102 mittit ab indomitis hanc, Messaline, salutem, quam solitus pr aesens est tibi ferre, Getis That venerator of your house from its earliest years, Naso, expelled to the far west of the Euxine shore, sends this greeting, which he was accustomed to carry in pers on to you, Messalinus, from the as yet unconquered Getae. The epistolary salutation is immediately recognizable: sender in the nominative and salutem i n the accusative. A familiar Ovidian variation on the Roman formula of s.d. ( salutem dicit ) appears here ( mittit salutem 2.2.3),30 as if to emphasize the distanc e between author and addressee. Ovid emphasizes this point by reminding Messalinus that once before he could address him in person. He even attemp t s to do so at 2.2.2 3 through the use of the vocati ve ( mittit ab indomitis hanc, Messaline, salutem, / quam solitus praesens est tibi ferre, Getis [Ovid] sends this greeting, Messalinus, from the as yet unconquered Getae, which he used to bring to you in person). All this formality ( tempered by the gent le reminder of previous proximity with the subsequent vocative address ) contrasts the familiarity, friendliness and congeniality of Cottas letter Because of this distance (both physical and emotional ) between Ovid and Messalinus, the poet instead focuses on his recipients sense of aesthetic taste, a point of pride for the discerning gentl e man of early imperial Rome Contrasted with the letter to Cotta, the letter to Messalinus contains a much heavier emphasis on learned poetic allusions ( P. 2.2.7 14): Perlege nec mecum pariter mea uerba relega: Vrbe licet uestra uersibus esse meis. Non ego concepi, si Pelion Ossa tulisset, clara mea tangi sidera posse manu, 2.2.10 30 Claassen (1999: 114 19, esp. 115, and nn. 37, 40 3) On the structure of the epistle see Malherbe (1988); Stirewalt (1993); Rosenmeyer (1997) and (2001); OCD3 s.v. Letters, Greek and Letters, Latin.
103 nec nos Enceladi dementia castra secuti in rerum dominos mouimus arma deos, nec, quod Tydidae temeraria dextera fecit, numina sunt telis ull a petita meis. Read through and for your part do not relegate my words with myself : my verses are allowed to be in your city. I woul d never have believed it, if Ossa supported Pelion, that the famous stars could be touched by my hand, neither, following the deranged camp of Enceladus, have I brought weapons against the homes of the gods, nor are any divine powers sought out by my weapons, as did the audacious right hand of the son of Tydeus. Fol lowing this address Ovid employs a series of poetic comparisons, all of which can be applied more securely to his own situation than the various appeals to mythological friendship found in ex P onto 2.3. 41 8 The imperative relega (2.2.7) reminds his audie nce that his legal definition is not technically exul but rather, relegatus a n improvement in social terms, in that he maintained control of his property at Rome. The piling of Pelion on top of Ossa, the reference to Enceladus demented war camps and the gigantomachy (2.2.9 12) follow up on this selective terminology: Ovid was not grasping for power as part of a violent conspiracy against Augustus Nor did he attack the despots physical body as Diomedes once injured Ares and Aphrodite ( Il. 5.334 863) a n appropriate pair considering the Julian familys mythological descent and the sculptural program of the Temple of Mars Ultor, one of the emperors crowning construction projects. The series of allusions creates a point of connection between Messalinus and Ovid. B y refocusing exile on the literary interests shared between poet and audience, Ovid renders the conditions surrounding his conflict with Augustus more favorable to his own position: he effectively changes the subject from politics where the emper or is immortal, to poetry where the poet is
104 Ovid s description of his supporter s distress links the two addressees with similar language;31 however, the lines following this scene employ different strategies for the sophos and philos Ovids similar appe als are subsequently re engineered to specific audiences ( philoi vs. sophoi ) This changes the context of Ovids exile, sets the poet and emperor on equal footing, and allow s his Roman audience to commence a critical discourse concerning politically unequal interlocutors32 ( P. 2.2.19 24 2.3.61 6 ): Esse quidem fateor meritam post Caesaris iram difficilem precibus te quoque iure meis, 2.2.20 quaeque tua est pietas in totum nomen Iuli, te laedi, cum quis laeditur inde, putas. Sed licet arma feras et uul nera saeua mineris, non tamen efficies ut timeare mihi. I even confess that after Caesars righteous anger, you are justly hard on my prayers: you have such pietas towards the entire Julian name that you consider your self hurt, when someone of that name is injured. Although you bear arms and threaten savage wounds, nevertheless youll never make yourself fearful to me. Ira quidem primo fuerat tua iusta nec ipso lenior offensus qui mihi iure fuit, quique dolor pectus tetigisset Caesaris alti, i llum iurabas protinus esse tuum U t tamen audita est nostrae tibi cladis origo, 2.3.65 diceris erratis ingemuisse meis. Indeed your wrath was just at first, and no gentler than he who was justly enraged with me; what sadness touched the heart of Caesar o n high, that same sadness you swore straight away was yours Nevertheless, when you heard the reason for my destruction, you are said to have groaned at my mistake 31 Ovid praises his addressees as a pair as well: since they were part of the same family, they share the eloquence of their father ( P. 2.2.49 52). 32 Ovid and Augustus are unequal in terms of political power, and thus, without some form of equalizing rhetoric dialogue with the despot is at best dangerous and at worst outright impossible; see Hinds ( 2007: 209 13 ). As I will argue below, this leveling empowers Ovids criticism of the emperor: that Augustus is incapable of appreciating Ovids poetry or Roman literature in general, and therefore cannot function as the intellectual leader of the Roman elite.
105 This scene elevates the poet in the eyes of his audience, no matter their opinion of his poetry or level of familiarity. First, language connects the two passages: both begin with the postpositive quidem a traditional means for rhetorical emphasis, while the implied subject of both opening couplets is Caesars outrage ( iram 2.2.19; ira 2.3.61) Both are justly outraged ( iure 2.2.20; iusta 2.3.61) just as Caesar himself was (2.3.62). Cotta, however, the closer friend to Ovid goes so far as to feel Ovids pain as well ( 2.3.65 6). This effectively places Cottas feelings for Ovid on par with his reverent emotion for the emperors pain, focusing attention on the pair of characters (Ovid and Augustus) and equating poet and emperor in the audiences perception. Messalinus, as a learned reader ( but less of a friend to Ovid), receives specialized tre atment in the subsequent lines of poem 2.2: Ovid employs a series of mythopoetic allusions that emphasize his power in the face of imperial authority The overarching theme of the passage supports this interpretation: the idea that Ovid seeks refuge from t hose who were once his enemies focuses on the relationship between poet and emperor creating a poetic at mosphere in which Ovid can excel He first calls up Achaemenides ( P. 2.2.25) Odysseus man rescued by Aeneas ( Aen. 3.588 691), an apt comparison since Ovid is so often Odysseus ( Tr. 1.5.57 84) and Augustus had obvious links to Aeneas. Next, he compar e s his plight with Telephus healed by Achilles spear ( P. 2.2.26) : Augustus is the Achilles to Ovids Telephus elsewhere ( Tr. 1.1 97 100; Tr. 5.2.15 20) but so is Ovids own verse ( Tr. 2.1.19 22) again setting the poet and the emperor within the same sphere.33 The ensuing references to Polyphemus and Antiphates ( P. 2.2.113 14) recast Ovids relationship with Augustus in a similar fashion. 33 Cf. Ibis 255 6, where the comparison with Telephus is negative.
106 When Messalinus make s his case on Ovids behalf, the emperor is imagined as a peaceful and friendly parent ( placidus facilisque parens, 2.2.115), not the monstrous Polyphemus or Antiphates of the Odyssey, known for their conspicuous lack of hospitality : n ec tamen Aetnaeus v as to Polyphemus in antro / accipiet voces Antiphatesv e tuas ( nor, nevertheless, will Aetnean Polyphemus receive you in his massive cave, or will Antiphates hear your words, 2.2.113 14) As with Achaemenides and Telephus before, the comparison seems to focus on the emperor, but ultimately favors a restructuring of the dialogue between Augustus and the poet namely by shifting from political condemnation to poetic authority Although not calling Augustus a maneating giant could be construed as an emphatic co mpliment, the characters of Polyphemus and Antiphates refer more likely to Messalinus relationship with Augustus who, as the vehicle for Ovids defense, is required to play the role of Odysseus. As we saw above (for example, in Tr. 1.5), Odysseus is comm only associated with Ovid and his poetic act in the exilic epistles Thus Messalinus must perform the function of Ovids poetry in absentia: defend the poet with the same clever turns his verse uses in Tomis. To hammer the point home, Ovid includes just such a twist within the metaphor: Polyphemus name (very famous, or much spoken of, Greek: ) coincides nicely with the intended subject of comparison, Augustus, who was of course very famous, whil e Antiphates, the contradictor (Greek: + better describes the emperors legal position with respect to Ovid. A figura etymologi ca seals the deal: Ovid embeds Antiphates between your [Messalinus] voice in the Latin ( voces Antiphatesve tuas, 2.2.114), playing upon the understood Greek derivation.34 T hese comparisons 34 The couplet is highly artistic. Ovid sets Polyphemus into a physical word picture when he situates him within his cave ( vasto Polyphemus in antro, 2.2.114), contrasting the similar, though etymologically
107 serve the same veiled purpose for the learned sophoi as Cottas lament for the poet in 2.3: each places Ovid (or his verse) on equal ground with the emperor s political authority by centering on Ovids power within his own arena, making the case for legitimate complaint more agreeable to an elite audience. Ovids sailin g metaphors are also tailored to his particular addressee: they refer to personal suffering in ex P onto 2.3 but function as metapoetry in ex P onto 2.2. The image of the sailing vessel is exclusively poetic in his letter to Messalinus ( P. 2.2.29 36): Dixerit hoc aliquis tutum non esse: fatemur, sed non per placidas it mea nauis aquas. 2.2.30 Tuta petant alii: fortuna miserrima tuta est; nam timor euentu deterioris abest. Qui rapitur . . . porrigit spinas duraque saxa . ac cipitremque timens pennis trepidantibus ales 2.2.35 audet ad humanos fessa uenire sinus .35 Some have said this is not wise: I admit it, but my ship does not go through calm waters. Let others seek out safety, the most painful fate is safe, for fear o f a worse disaster is missing. He who is snatched up [by waves] clings even to thorns and harsh rocks and fearing the hawk the bird, with trembling wings and exhausted dares to go to the lap of a human. Ovids pleas in verse are compared to acts of desperation: hoc (2.2.29) refers to the poets at tempts to gain absolution from Augustus, the very deity he offended (2.2.27 8). The drowning victim ( 2.2.33 4) recalls Ovids naufragus metaphor but since the reference is specifically to his poetic attempts t o sway the emperor (e.g. Tr. 2) or the emperors close friends, the metaphor must be interpreted on literary grounds: Ovids based, imagery of the pentamenter line. Interlocking alliteration adds musicality: AEtnAEus vAsto Polyphemus in A ntro / Accipiet Voces AntiphatesVe tuA s Note the matching of long and short vowels and syllables, as in vasto antro. 35 P. 2.2.33 4 is mutilated beyond recognition. See Galasso (1995: ad loc ) for the most complete overview of scholarship on this corruption.
108 poetic act is likened to a helpless swimmer, caught up in a strong current. Because Messalinus the sophos would better respond to m etapoetic uses of the seafaring metaphor,36 just such imagery can be found in ex P onto 2.2 and other letters to sophoi Metaphors that play upon the readers p ersonal attachment to the poet are more often found in letters to philoi such as ex P onto 2.3. Th is image of an oppressed poet finds further support at 2.2.35 6, wher e Ovid compares his desperate poetic act with a familiar Hesiodic parable: the hawk and the nightingale ( Op. 202 12) .37 The Hesiodic narrator recounts an about a nightingale caught by a hawk and emphasizes the narrators characteristic pessimism. In addition to the parallels between poet and bird implicit in both Hesiod and Ovid, the image is entirely appropriate for Ovids mixture of poetry and the r eality of his current dilemma. Once captured, struggling will only increase the nightingales suffering: might makes right.38 The distressed swimmer in place of desperate poetry and the oppressed nightingale in place of a condemned poet both dovetail39 nicel y with Ovids self representation vis vis the emperor elsewhere and focus exclusively on his poetic act. Indeed, the masterful execution of these images defeats their underlying negative 36 In fact, the naufragus metaphor more often refers to the physical danger the poet endures in Tomis, not the difficulty he faces in composing poetry, as is evide nt in 2.2.29 36. See Tr. 1.5.35 6, 1.6.7 8, and esp. 2.99 102. 37 The reference to Hesiod is apt, considering Ovids tactical division of appeals between philoi and sophoi : the myth of the hawk and the nightingale( Op. 202 12) constitutes the earliest identifiable example of code and message ( to the kings who are themselves understanding, 202), imagery which has meaning for only the poets sophoi and philoi and thus was meant for an elite and/or learned audience. See Nagy (1997: 255 57). Again, this was to the exclusion of the emperor Augustus 38 Though I follow Nagy (1997: 256 n. 38), Lonsdale (1989: 403 12) contends that the conclusion to the poem is no epimythium, rather an omen predicting Perses eminent downfall f or his violation of justice. This reading would only strengthen the subversive nature of the fable in Ovids ex Ponto. 39 The traditional image was that of the hawk and the dove: Soph. Ajax 140, 168; Aesch. Prom 857; cf. Tr. 1.1.75 6. See Galasso (1995: ad 2.2.35 6).
109 implications: the claim that distressed poetry must by necessity be bad is by no means represented in the self awareness of this learned allusion. The rather straightforward fable now becomes doublesided: Ovids enactment of the hawk and nightingale myth equates his own position with that of the Hesiodic narrator. Follow ing the interpretation of Nagy, the Works and Days reflected a period in which the defunct institution of juridical authority vested in a single monarch was replaced with a religious ly coded morality like that preserved in the Works and Days The gift dev ouring kings no longer held judicial power in G reece during the Archaic period: laws were instead handed down from Zeus himself, through, for example, poets who are, in both the ex Ponto and the Works and Days oppressed by unjust rulers .40 This final ima ge caps a surging comparison between Ovid and the emperor, which ultimately equates the poets sense of justice and piety with that of the pater patriae himself, as both are derived from the chie f Greco Roman dei ty We might briefly contrast ex P onto 2.3, where the use of sailing metaphors serves to emphasize Ovids physical plight ( not the danger inherent in his poetic act) and thus increase the pathos with which he implores the philoi for aid ( P. 2.3.25 8, 57 60) En ego non paucis quondam munitus a micis, 2.3.25 dum flauit uelis aura secunda meis, ut fera nimboso tumuerunt aequora uento, in mediis lacera naue relinquor aquis. 40 Nagy (1997: 255) cites Solon fr. 31 W. In fact, Nagy goes on to argue, t he juridical authority of earthly kings is eliminated not only in the Works and Days Even in the Iliad an epic about warriors who are simultaneously represented as k ings, the scene of litigation on the Shield of Achilles leaves out any mention of kings; the group of men taking turns at standing with skptron 'scepter' in hand and arbitrating the litigation by pronouncing dik (XVIII 503 508) are described not as kings but merely as gerontes elders' (503).
110 Alas I, once defended by not a few friends, while a favorable breeze filled my sails, but now the savage ocean swells with a tempestuous wind, and Im left behind on a broken vessel in the midst of the sea. Firmus es et, quoniam non sunt ea qualia uelles, uela r egis quassae qualiacumque ratis, q uaeque ita concussa est ut iam casura putetur, restat adhuc umeris fulta ruina tuis. 2.3.60 You remained steadfast, and since they were not such as you would like, guide my sails, such as they are of a broken raft, which is so broken that even now it is thought about to capsize, still it remains supported on your shoulders. This is not the poetic vessel of ex P onto 2.2. Ovids disaster is likened to a wrecked ship, and the imagery of abandoned friends (2.3.25 6) emphasizes the magnitude of his misfortune, like a lone survivor (2.3.27 8) .41 When the image is picked up once again, Ovid simply reverses the subjects: rather than the poet suffering in a shipwreck ed life, Cotta is imagined pulling his friend from a foundering boat (2.3.57 8) in direct contrast to the friends who abandoned him before. In fact, this vision of Cott a rescuing the poet from exile (a power otherwise reserved for the emperor himself) is here coopted by the poet and his philoi Ultimately both poems appeal to the addressees respective interests whether through intellectual or personal connections and both accomplish to some extent an equation between the poets position and that of the emperor. We can see similar personal appeals in, for example, a letter to Graecinus ( P. 2.6 ), where the addressees continued friendship aids Ovids cause like an oar added to a ship under sail, or the whip to a galloping horse (2.6.35 8). Poetic appeals are even more frequent : ex P onto 1.10 (to Flaccus) and 3.4 (to Rufinus) both discuss the addressees power to mitigate the poets intellectual suffering in exile. The exi lic letters 41 Cf. P. 1.4.33 4; p. 63, n. 57.
111 are peppered with such passages designed to appeal to the individuals personal sense of attachment to the poet or his familiarity with Greco Roman literary sophistication. In either case, Ovid defines the boundaries of his cl iques and excludes the emperor both, either on grounds of injustice (as in the case of the philoi ) or intellectual bankruptcy (the sophoi ) Poet, Emperor, and Sophoi Ovids letter to Cotys of Thrace ( P. 2.9) plays on this relationship between poet and sophos again at the e mperors expense : the barbaric provincial monarch Cotys is depicted as a literary genius, a tacit and vitriolic comparison with the supposedly sophisticated ruler of the civilized world who has banished its greatest living poet The letter bears a heavy em phasis on encomium which recalls other passages directed at the emperor and his family .42 In ex P onto 2.9 however, that praise is reserved for the Thracian king Cotys focusing on his illustrious nearly divine, nobility (2.9.1 2 21 4 ),43 prowess in battl e (2.9. 45, 55 60) and even poetic genius (2.9.49 54, 61 4). These points are typical of panegyric directed at Hellenistic monarchs,44 and Ovid makes t he comparison between Cotys and Mediterranean tyrants more obvious at 2.9.41 44, where the addressee is no violent dictator like Apollodorus of Cassandrea, Alexander of 42 See esp. Fasti 1.1 63, 590 616, 2.127 44, etc. Augustus is even deified (a tactic often reserved for the exilic epistles) at 1.650, in an address to Germanicus (possibly a later addition, after the emperors death). Fantham (1998: 40) notes the panegyric precedent for the Fasti was found in Callimachus Aetia Cf. P. 2.8, 4.9.105 12, 4.13.17 32. 43 Green (2005: ad loc ) notes verbal association between the address here and Horaces address to Maecenas in Odes 1.1; cf. Helzle (1988a). Even without this note, Galasso (1995: 379 81) points out that much of the poem assimilates Cotys to Roman aristocratic cultural values, an ironic transposition of the traditionally barbaric Thracians ( s ee below, p. 116 with nn. 46 and 47) to elite GrecoRoman literary pretention. 44 Galasso (1995: ad loc 2.9.1 2).
112 Pherae, or Phalaris of Acragas .45 Most important for Ovids plea, though, are the poetic interests he shares with Cotys: lucida Pieria tendis in astra uia ; / haec quoque res aliquid tecum mihi foederis affert, you hold out a path to the Pierian stars; / this also bri ngs me a certain union with you (2.9.62 3). Cotys is depicted as not only the ideal ruler, but also culturally fluent in the traditions of Greek and Latin poetry. Augustus is prais ed along similar lines: he is compared with a deity ( Tr. 2.33 40) and a conquering hero (2.225 36). Notably, however, the emperor is never considered inclined towards poetry Ovid makes a point of writing off his own verse as beneath the emperor ( Tr. 2.23 7 40). Jennifer Ingleheart has argued that such passages contain a subversive tone : that Ovid recasts his banishment in light of the e mperors inability to appreciate Ovidian poetry, thus reducing the princeps to little more than a deluded critic.46 Given t his subtext for Tristia 2, the panegy ric for Cotys becomes ironic: a provincial monarch appointed by the imperial family now has more appreciation for Latin poetry than the princeps himself. Ovid even emphasizes the irony of this characterization with a backhanded compliment ( P. 2.9.49 54): Nec regum quisquam magis est instructus ab illis mitibus aut studiis tempora plura dedit. 2.2.50 Carmina testantur quae, si tua nomina demas, Threicium iuuenem composuisse negem. Neue sub hoc tractu uates foret unicus Orpheus, Bistonis ingenio terra superba tuo est. No king has been better taught by the liberal arts nor given more time to them Your verse is evidence, if you would erase your name, I would deny 45 For Phalaris, cf. Tr. 3.11.39 54; P. 3.6.41 3; Ibis 437 40. 46 Ingleheart (2010: intr oduction and passim ), though she only considers evidence in Tr. 2.
113 that a Thracian youth had composed it. The land of Bistonia is proud of your genius, that Orpheus would not be the only poet under this sky. Ovid plays on the general depiction of Thracians as cruel barbarians ,47 incapable of appreciating much less composing good poetry. Cotys on the other hand, is praised as a second Orpheus and the pride of Bistonia (2.9.53 4).48 This focus on the addressees sophistication contrasts the emperors lack thereof: even the local barbarian kings can identify with Ovids poetic program As with other learned allusions, this intensifies the boundaries between the imagined foolish reader who criticize s without insight, and the sophoi or philoi who appreciate Ovids enactment of his own verse because of their esoteric knowledge and access to the poet himself. Ultimately, t his type of criticism restructures the emperors relationship with the poet, to Ovids benefit: just as Ovid is powerless to counter the emperors civil authority, so too is the emperor impotent within Ovids poetic sphere. Cont rasting the good and bad re ader (whether Cotys or Augustus) found in ex P onto 2.9, poem 2.10 picks up with a genuine appeal to a sophisticated reader, the poet Macer.49 We are informed early on that Macer is an excellent poet, having added some finishing touches even to the Homeric e pics: tu canis aeterno quicquid restabat Homero, 47 See, e.g. Thuc. 7.29; Tac. Ann. 4.46; Bmer (1976: ad Met. 6.458); Thomas (1982); Galasso (1995: ad loc ). 48 The idea of a well But Kotys was a man of stunning appearance and remarkable skill in combat, and even in his s pirit he was in no way like a Thracian; in fact, he was sober, he had a gentle disposition, and a depth of character one might expect of a gentleman. Cf. Livy 42.67.3. 49 Not to be confused with Aemilius Macer (d. 16 B.C.E.; PIR2 and RE s.v. Macer), auth or of an Ornithogonia and Theriaca (in the style of Nicander of Colophon): see Tr. 4.10.43; Quin. Inst. 10.1.56, 87. For this Macer, see Am. 2.18; P. 4.16.6. Syme (1978: 73, 156) identifies him as Pompeius Macer, son of Theophanes of Mytilene and member of both Tiberius and Augustus circles, though cf. White (1992), who contests the very existence of such a figure.
114 / ne careant summa Troica bella manu, you sing whatever remained after Homer, nor were the Trojan wars lacking your finishing touches (2.10.13 14). Unlike Ovids ironic treatment of the learned and unlearn ed reader above in ex P onto 2.9, Macer is a Roman epic poet par excellence, with whom Ovid was well acquainted for quite some time ( quam tu vel longi convictibus debes aevi 2.10.9) and shared many long conversations (2.10.35 8) These long conversations are depicted as a journey and signposted by the author with poetic scenery, all couched in the familiar diction of the poetic vessel as an imitation of the poetic act (2.10.21 34): Te duce magnificas Asiae perspeximus urbes, Trinacris est oculis te duce uisa meis; uidimus Aetnaea caelum splendescere flamma, subpositus monti quam uomit ore gigans Hennaeosque lacus et olentia stagna Palici, 2.10.25 quamque suis Cyanen miscet Anapus aquis. Nec procul hinc nympha est quae, dum fugit Elidis amnem, tect a sub aequorea nunc quoque currit aqua. Hic mihi labentis pars anni magna peracta est. Eheu! quam dispar est locus ille Getis! 2.10.30 Et quota pars haec sunt rerum quas uidimus ambo, te mihi iucundas efficiente uias, seu rate caeruleas picta sulcauimus undas, esseda nos agili siue tulere rota While you were leading me we saw the great cities of Asia, while you were leading me I saw the Trinacrian land; we beheld Aetna, lighting up the sky with fire, which the giant spews up from his mouth placed underneath the mountain, and Lake Henna as well as the reeking pools of Palicus, where Anapus mixes its waters with those of Cyane. Not far from there is that place where the nymph, while she fled from the river Elidis, ran then underneath the cover of the watery waves. Here I spent a great part of the sliding year. Alas! How different it is from the land of the Getae! And how small a part is this bit of those things that we saw together, while you made every path easy for me, whether we plowed the de ep blue waves in a painted boat, or drove on in a swift wheeled chariot We can quickly dispel the notion of any actual voyage: as Galasso notes, te duce repeated in verses 21 and 22 recalls a purely poetic address to Maecenas found in
115 Propertius: te duce vel Iovis arma canam caeloque minantem / Coeum et Phlegraeis Eurymedonta iugis with you as my leader Ill sing of Jupiters weapons and Coeus threatening heaven, E urymedon on the P h legraean rocks (Prop. 3.9.47 8).50 Jupiters weapons, Coeus and Eurymedon all refer to the gigantomachy, and the poets willingness to abandon safe, familiar themes for those of the more aesthetically dangerous epic cycle.51 So in ex Ponto 2.10 Ovid refers to a poetic journey taken in conversation and writing, not an actual tr ip th rough the Mediterranean, and the catalogue of sites substantiates the literary characteristics of this letter: each place figures prominently in Metamorphoses 5 .52 First Ovid mentions his visit to Sicily ( Trinacris 2.10.22) the site of Typhoeus impr isonment ( gigans 2.10.24; Met. 5.346 58) then Lake Henna (2.10.25), where Persephone was abducted by Dis ( Met. 5.385 424). Palici (2.10.25) refers to the sulphur swamps over which Persephone wa s carried during her abduction, and Ovid even retains the sam e language found in the Metamorphoses : perque lacus altos et olentia sulphure fertur / stagna Palicorum rupta ferventia terra, and its said [Dis drove with her] through t he deep lakes and reeking sulphur pools of Palici, boiling up from a crack in the ea rth ( Met. 5.405 6). Cyane (2.10.26) is the very pool through which Persephone is brought to the underworld, despite the personified lakes protestations 50 Galasso (1995: 414 15, ad loc ). 51 The authors propensity for lighter, elegiac themes is clear earlier in the poem: non ego velifera tumidum mare findo carina: / tota sub exiguo flumine nostra morast I dont plow the swollen sea in a sail bearing ship: my whole endeavor exists on but a tiny stream (3.9.35 6). 52 On the correspondences see Galasso (1995: ad loc .); cf. the methodology of Miller (2009: 343 53) on the connections between Tr. 3.1 and the Apollo and Daphne tale of Met. 1.473 567.
116 ( Met. 5.425 37). The nymph (2.10.27) refers to Arethusa, who finally reveals the fate of Persephone to her mother at Metamorphoses 5.487 508.53 I propose that these scenes have been carefully selected by Ovid and geared towards his audience of sophoi : the specific circumstances all recall a previous scene where the poet proclaimed his own poetic authority and immortality, through a reference to the Caystrian swans. In ex P onto 2.10, that scene is replayed with extreme irony, considering the context of Persephone who was banished to the underworld54 against her will. I ndeed, these allusions not only refer to t he same scene ( the rape of Persephone) but they are retold in the same narrative sequence found in the Metamorphoses .55 Considering the addressee, this passage can be reread as an erudite wink to the sophoi in his audience: only they would understand the s pecific scenery as an allusion to Metamorphoses 5 T he mention of the Cayster and its swans ( Met. 5.386 7) introduces the scene of Persephones abduction alluded to throughout ex P onto 2.10 and formed a programmatic point for Tristia 5.1.11 14. Just as Ov id previously employed the Caystrius ales as a symbol for his own accomplishment of enacting verse, in this case he redirects his audiences attention back to a scene that once served to declare poetic immortality. In exile, the context becomes ironic, but the message, and its means of conveyance remain powerful: those with enough knowledge of Latin poetry and familiarity with Ovids verse (the sophoi ) discover in ex P onto 2.10 a 53 The reference is somewhat roundabout: Ovid uses the flight from Alpheus to identify her (2.10.27 8), a scene that comes after her revelation to Ceres in the Metamorphoses : for her transformation into a spring after Alpheus attempted rape, see Met. 5.572 641. 54 Ovid often depicts Tomis and the Euxine shores couched in underworld terminology: see Williams (1994: 12 13), who cites, e.g. P. 1.7.11 12, 4.12.33 4 for the frigid temperatures and Tr. 3.10.71 6; P. 1.3.51 2 for the entirely barren landscape. 55 Hinds (1987: 141, n. 1) comments on this; cf. Williams (1994: 42 8). I agree with Williams, in that I accept the unreality or nonbiographical nature of Ov ids journey with Macer.
117 veiled affirmation of personal power The emperor, on the other hand, whom Ovi d figures as the consummate literary imbecile, lacks the appropriate familiarity with Latin literature, and thus, in the poets construction, misses this act of defiance entirely: not so Ovid, Macer, or their sophoi friends at Rome. Letters to Sophoi in ex Ponto 4 T he strategy of enacting poetry through learned allusion became increasingly important in Ovids exilic program because it allowed the poet to exclude the uninitiated and thus bring poet and audience closer together by revealing his exile as an act of self othering on the part of Augustus The shift towards readers I have classified as sophoi in Epistulae ex Ponto 4 illustrates this point: of the nine named addressees in book four, four are poets or critics (Cornelius Severus, P. 4.2; Albinovanus Pedo, P. 4.10; Carus, P. 4.13; Tuticanus, P. 4.12 and 4.14) and Sextus Pompey addressed four times, was a patron of Ovid.56 Previously, Ovid appealed to the philoi and sophoi at Rome by guiding them to points at which he enacted his own poetry. At the close of ex Ponto 4, a series of poems addressed to Tuticanus ( P. 4.12, 4.14), Albinovanus Pedo ( P. 4.10) and finally an unnamed enemy ( P. 4.16) further substantiate Ovids tactic of excluding the emperor from the circles of aristocratic and literary elite at Rome As with Cotys above ( P. 2.9 ), Ovids dual letters to the criti c and old friend Tuticanus play on the dichotomy between erudite and ignorant readers. Poem 4.12 resurrects the playful Ovidian wit familiar from his youthful Amores as well as a dense complement of poetic constructions. First, Ovid complains that Tuticanus name cannot 56 Syme (1978: 156 68) attributes a change of approach on the part of the poet (78) to the shift of attention to Germanicus and his circle (Carus the tutor of Germanicus sons; Suillius, his quaestor). Despite the associations of the individual addressees, the tactics Ovid employs remain suited to Roman readers who identified with the literary elite.
118 be reasonably fit into the elegiac couplet: l ex pedis officio fortunaque nominis obstat / quaque meos adeas, est uia nulla, modos the law of metrical feet and the unfort unate nature of your name that forbids my service to you / and there is no road by which you might enter my poetry ( P. 4.12.5 6).57 Despite this difficulty, the poet proceeds to do exactly that, through a brilliant rhetorical twist ( P. 4.12.9 16): et pudeat, si te, qua syllaba parte moratur, artius adpellem Tuticanumque uocem. 4.12.10 Et potes in uersum Tuticani more uenire, fiat ut e longa syllaba prima breuis, aut ut ducatur quae nunc correptius exit et sit porrecta longa secunda mora. His ego si uitiis ausim corrumpere nomen, 4.12.15 ridear et merito pectus habere neger And Id be ashamed, if, at which point a syllable is meant to be long I And, according to custom youre not able to e becomes long, or so that the second, which is now short, is extended to a long syllable by a delay .58 If I should dare to ruin your name with these defects, I would be laughed at and rightly they would call me mindless Ovid reverses his own premise that Tuticanus cannot possibly fit into verse, and that any attempt would result in ridicule and rejection. By accepting and highlighting the absurdity of the endeavor, Ovid manages to render his addressees unlucky name with great artistry: he accomplishes the impossible and even maintains the self deprecation and severity characteristic of his exilic letters.59 The aesthetic judgment of his audience is twisted back on itself, and those who Ovid claim s would originally have chastised 57 The short i notes that only by dividing the name between two lines ( P. 4.12.7) or by scanning the name incorrectly and thus forcing the reader to mispronounce it ( P. 4.12.9 12) can Tuticanus enter an elegiac couplet. 58 ame to fit Ovids meter. 59 Cf. above p. 102 n. 19, on Tr. 5.1.31 2, where Ovid counts up his uncountable miseries in a classical triplet.
119 such metrical violence must now chuckle under their breath at the thought of condemning and as forced, hack poetry. In addition to this light hearted address, Ovid includes a string of poetic constru ctions and allusions meant to highlight the positive role played by the friend and critic in his poetic success. Ovids recollection of his (otherwise unknown) Phaeacis which Tuticanus edited for him ( P. 4.12.25 8) recalls his consistent association of l ife in exile with his own poetic compositions about that life, specifically the connection between his own suffering and that of Odysseus ( Tr. 1.5.57 84). Next he lists off a pair of traditi onal poetic images: first the heart of iron (P 4.12.31 2),60 and then a series of adynata, tailored to the landscape of his banishment (4.12.33 6). In fact, following the thesis of Davisson, adynata form a poignant reminder for Ovids audience that the impossibilities of the poetic trope have now become the reality of the poets life, further evidence for the authors mixing of poetry and reality .61 A passing mention of Ovids poetic vessel caps this series of poetic constructions (4.12.41 2), which focus es the audiences attent ion (keeping in mind the critic addressee) on the vivacity of Ovids poetry despite exile. The implication is simple: a good reader, like Tuticanus, can appreci ate these various poetic turns and find them even in self deprecating verse. As a result, the reader, like Tuticanus, is inducted into Ovids circle of sophoi Tuticanus is the implied addressee of a second poem, ex P onto 2.14, though here Ovid shifts the focus from the well educated former critic to the obtuse locals in 60 Cf. Eur. Med. 98 105, 1279 81; likewise the acrostic found in Cat. 60: though the metal is different ( aes in Catullu s), the sentiment remains. 61 Davisson (1980: 128): Possibilities and impossibilities lie partly within the control of Ovids readers, and he appeals to them all to ensure that no more impossible horrors become realities in his life. See also Claassen (1999: 231 33).
120 Tomis. Unlike Tutican us, who would have appreciated the list of adynata or references to the authors poetic vessel, the Getae are incensed at the poets frequent and vitriolic condemnation of their homeland ( P. 4.14.13 16). Ovid quickly makes the silent connection to another, unstated reader who was previously compared with t he locals: Augustus in ex P onto 2.9 ( P. 4.14.17 2 3): Ergo ego cessabo numquam per carmina laedi plectar et incauto semper ab ingenio? Ergo ego, ne scribam, digitos incidere cunctor telaque adhuc demens quae nocuere sequor? 4.14.20 Ad ueteres scopulos iterum deuertor et illas in quibus offendit naufraga puppis aquas? Sed nihil admis i, nulla est mea culpa, Tomitae Will I never cease, then, to harm myself through verse, will I always suffer the consequences of my heedless genius? Should I, the n, hesitate to cut off my fingers, lest I write anything do I, mindless, still follow those weapons which once harmed me? Am I turned again to those old rocks, does my ship strike those same waves in which it was wrecked? But Ive perpetrated no crime, I m not at fault, Tomitans Ovid connects the consequences of the emperors outrage and the angry mob of Tomitans (4.14.16) through a series of pointed allusions. The poets voice has already been silenced by exile.62 N ow he wonders if his fingers too should b e removed, a reference to versification and the dactylic lines of the elegiac couplet as well as the Metamorphoses : Philomela lost her tongue ( Met. 6.549 70) and thus could not report the crimes commit t ed against her by Tereus. Instead, she wove ( with he r fingers ) a tapestry that revealed her rape and mutilation ( Met. 6.571 80). Ovid has previously used the myth of Telephus to refer to the emperor, but next he implies that his own verse is the weapon that harms him (4.14.20), rather than heals (e.g. Tr. 2 .1.19 22).63 62 P. 2.6.3 4. 63 For the emperor as Achilles and Ovid as Telephus see Tr. 1.1.97 100, 5.2.15 20; P. 2.2.26.
121 Finally, Ovid returns to the now familiar metaphor of the poetic vessel (4.14.21 2) While the poetic vessel may be a popular image throughout Ovids exilic letters, the recurrence of each individual metaphor in Tristia 2 encourages connections between the two poems There we find both myths of Telephus ( Tr. 2.19 20) and Philomela ( 2.389 90), as well as frequent references to the poetic vessel ( 2.18) ,64 and the claim that he is at least partially blameless (2.239 40; P. 4.14.23). Poem 4.14 plays on the dichotomy between its sophisticated address ee, Tuticanus, and the culturally simpleminded Tomitans, who condemn Ovids verse for its treatment of Tomis. Ovid ascribes his newfound infamy to a misunderstanding: s ed nihil admisi, nulla est mea culpa, Tomitae, / quos ego, cum loca sim uestra perosus, amo, but Ive perpetrated no crime, Im not at fa u lt, Tomitans, whom I love, a lthough I despise your homeland (P. 4.14.23 4). In his defense, Ovid recalls Hesiods treatment of his homeland Ascra ( Op 63 9 40) the rough terrain of Ithaca, and Metrodorus invective against Italy and Rome.65 Ovid hates Tomis not th e locals, and his use of prior literary exempla illustrates his point that this is a simple case of misinterpretation: if only the Tomitans were well versed in Greek and Latin literature, they would understand their mistake. In fact, Ovid makes his case abundantly clear at verses 41 2: at malus interpres populi mihi concitat iram / inque nouum crimen carmina nostra uocat but some bad interpreter incites peoples rage against me / and c alls my poetry to a new 64 Cf. 2.99 102, 327 30, 469 70, 547 8. 65 Pliny Nat. Hist. 34.16. If this is the Metrodorus to whom Ovid refers, then the example seems out of place, as Metrodorus bore a special surname for his hatred of the Roman people, not their homeland: Metrodorus Scepsius, cui cognomen a Romani nominis odio inditum est Assuming a certain lack of cultural illiteracy among the Tomitan Greeks, Ovid per haps sneaks in this reference at their expense, making himself out to be a sort of, hater of the Tomitans, Misotomaeus despite his claims to the contrary.
122 crime (P. 4.14.41 2). S omeone among the Tomitans has misread Ovids verse, and the result is widespread outrage, another poetic shipwreck. The learned reader and critic (Tuticanus) understand Ovids misfortune as well as the implication that his current situation with the Tomitans is merely a microcosm of his relationship with the emperor.66 One final poem in the Epistulae ex Ponto demonstrates Ovids enactment of his verse and his use of that enactment in appeals to learned readers. Ex P onto 4.10, addressed to Albinovanus Pedo, a fellow poet, opens with a series of grand poetic motifs. There we find the heart of iron imagery repeated later in the Tuticanus poems, this time reversed to demonst rate Ovids extreme endurance of suffering (4.10.3 8). Ovid next returns to a familiar comparison between himself and Odysseus, and, in the fashion of Jason before ( P. 1.4.21 46), illustrates the severity of his suffering compared to the ease of Odysseus: Odysseus spent six years with Calypso and was aided by Aeolus ( P. 4.10.11 16). Odysseus listened to the sirens song, and tasted the Lotus (4.10.17 18); the barbaric tribes surrounding Ovid are worse than the Laestrygonians, and their leaders are worse than the Cyclops, while Heniochian and Achean pirates are far worse than Scylla and Charybdis (4.10.21 30). A poetic catalogue of rivers follows, meant to explain the extreme cold in Pontus (4.10.35 58), and Ovid closes with a particularly telling comparison between Pedo and Theseus (4.10.71 81): At tu, non dubito, cum Thesea carmine laudes, materiae titulos quin tueare tuae, quemque refers, imitere uirum: uetat ille profecto tranquilli comitem temporis esse fidem. Qui quamquam est factis ingens et con ditur a te 4.10.75 uir tanto quanto debuit ore cani, 66 In the same vein of misinterpretation, P. 4.16 is addressed to one who does violence to Ovids p oems ( Invide, quid laceras Nasonis carmina rapti? 4.16.1) and contradicts harsh criticism with a list of contemporaries over whom Ovid towers.
123 est tamen ex illo nobis imitabile quiddam inque fide Theseus quilibet esse potest. Non tibi sunt hostes ferro clauaque domandi, per quos uix ulli peruius Isthmos erat, 4.10.80 sed praestandus a mor, res non operosa uolenti. But you, no doubt, since you are praising Theseus in your poetry, you are doing justice to the title of your material, and you imitate the man whom you describe: in fact, that man forbids faithfulness to be a companion only of peaceful times. A man who, great in deeds and described by you appropriately, ought to be sung with so great a mouth, nevertheless there is a certain thing in him that can be imitated by us: in faithfulness anyone is able to be Theseus. Its not for you to defeat with sword and club the enemies, because of whom the Isthmos was barely able to be passed by anyone, but to be outstanding in love, this is an easy thing for the willing. Currently composing a Theseis Pedo is implored by Ovid to imitate the hero about whom he writes, to enact his own verse ( imitere virum 4.10.73). S uch appeals to friendship appear elsewhere, as, for example in the case of Orestes and Pylades,67 though here Pedo is specifically envisioned as not only imitating the hero, but enacting his own verse in the process. With a well educated reader such as Pedo, Ovid can expect the importance of this image not to be lost: the power of a poet to live out his verse appealed to the most learned Roman audiences, thus it not only forms a t actic in Ovids attempts to return home, but also a means of address and praise for those knowledgeable enough to understand the compliment. Ovid managed to enact his poetry early on through the systematic use of seafaring metaphors, an image uniquely appr opriate to his own political situation. As the author continued to write, however, more direct methods of poetic enactment and individual address were required. Learned allusions, including the seafaring metaphor, continued to be used, but with the inclusi on of named addressees, Ovid began to play 67E.g. Tr. 5.4.25, 5.6.27 8; P. 2.3.45, 3.4.43 110. Cf. Theseus and Perithos, e.g. P. 2.3.43.
124 with individual relationships focusing on the faithfulness and eminence of the philoi and the literary knowledge of the sophoi By tailoring his appeals to these specific groups, Ovid elevates his own position as poet par excelle nce and degrades the emperors position through implications of misinterpretation, ignorance, and even delusion in the eyes of his audience. Whats more, the mixing of fiction and reality, of poetic act and physical journey creates a universe in which the poet can proclaim his adherence to Augustus misguided reading. Poet and narrator are merged in the same manner with which Augustus misread the Ars Amatoria and subsequently banished Ovid. This restructures an imbalanced relationship between the emperor and poet by concentrat ing on Ovids poetic authority and the emperors stupidity, rather than on the poets powerlessness in exile. Thus we find extensive connections between declarations of poetic genius in the Metamorphoses (the swans in book five, for example) and those in the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto, specifically geared towards Ovids ability to sing his own life, or live what he sings. This tactic is then translated into a means of address: the sophoi to whom Ovid writes are singl ed out as capable of identifying and appreciating h is brilliance despite exile The wisdom of the sophoi is contrasted with various ba d readers, which I have argued include the emperor himself. Tuticanus and even Cotys, a Thracian monarch, appreciate Ovid s verse; the culturally backwards Tomitans and the emperor demonstrate their lack of understanding through their misplaced outrage. Ovids enactment of poetry allowed him to appeal directly to the Roman elite. It added fuel to a rhetorical fire that removed Augustus from his political high ground by calling into question the emperors ability to read and appreciate Latin poetry one ostensible basis for the exile. In doing so, it excluded the emperor from the ranks of the Roman
125 aristocratic literati, a kind of damning ostracism imposed upon the monarch by the poet, matching the authors historical exile. Epistulae ex Ponto 4 can function as a microcosm of this tactic. No where is Ovids obsession with the enactment of poetry and the intended effect for his so phoi addressees more clear than in his letter to Albinovanus Pedo, where he praises Pedos ability to live out the characteristics of the hero whose life he versifies Theseus. Pedo, Ovid, and the Roman readers of the exilic epistles are tacitly identified as part of an ex clusive high culture group, an elite with the leisure and education to enjoy quality poetry. In this club the emperor is nowhere to be found.
126 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS In this project I have proposed a constructive and comprehensive reading of the exilic epistles that is based on Ovids metapoetic conceits, while taking into account his basis of poetic decline. C ontrary to his own claims, Ovid manifested his poetic brilliance in his application of metapoetry. For Ovid, exile was the result of a n autocratic power too dim witted to recognize a fundamental distinction in GrecoRoman verse, that between poet and persona. Ovid mimicked (and in doing so mocked) Augustus ineptitude in misreading the Ars Amatoria by co mingling poetry and reality to such an extent that thousands of years later historians would still debate the reality of his trip to Tomis. This ingenious maneuver not only changed the discourse concerning his relationship with the emperor (by refocusing discussion on Ovids poetic author ity rather than Augustus political clout ) but also labe led the emperor an uncultured reader and thus alienated him from the very support base from which he derived part of his power Ovid employed verse (the sharpest weapon in his arsenal) to respond t o exile: by physically living out Augustus misreading, he undercut the image of Augustus as peacemaker, patron of the arts, and pater familias of a unified, highly educated Roman elite. In effect, he turn e d the destabilized lifestyle he experienced in ex ile against the emperor, by highlighting the cracks in Augustus assumed position among the Roman elite. In this final chapter, then, I will consider how Ovid employed images of stability and instability to recast the emperor as anathema to the image that had developed around him in contemporary Rome. Ovid presents his exile as continuous instability, contrary to the wor ld of Italy and Augustus. The new emperor had, over time, donned the mantle of Romes new
127 founder :1 he rebuilt the city,2 restored the mos maiorum ,3 and by ending decades of chaotic civil conflict, ensured domestic peace.4 In this regard, Augustus assumed a position of auctoritas5 within the Roman state, a nebulous, extralegal sphere (as evidenced, for example, by his n umerous unconstituti onal privile ges, civic positions, and accolades) in which he acted as both member and head of the Roman populace: such is the implication, for example, of his title princeps. This is the impe rial image upon which Ovid cast doubt. Through his attacks on the emperors roles as guarantor of peace and artistic genesis,6 Ovid questioned the legitimacy and even necessity of Augustus mutually accepted governance among the educated Roman elite. I shall 1 Augustus almost assumed the title Romulus: Suet. Aug. 7. Considering Catullus use of the epithet against Caesar (poem 29.5, 9), Sallusts insults for Cicero (Quin. 9.3.89) and Sulla ( Hist 1.4.45), and Plutarchs treatment of Pompey ( Pomp 25), one might conclude that t he epithet had a less than desirable semantic range: see Hirst (1926: 348). On Augustus potential use of the title see Burket (1962); Baldson (1971); Zanker (1990: 44 57, esp. 51, 201 15); Galinsky (1998: 81, 155); Eck (2003: 50, 149). Romulus hut was of course located on the Palatine: see Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 1.11.79; cf. Plut. Rom. 20.4 6. On the imagery tied to Augustus adoption of the archaic hut(s), see Rea (2007: 21 42, 46). 2 RG 19 21; Suet. Aug. 28.3 30. On Augustus/Aeneas as builders see Morwood (1991); on the city itself, Favro (1992). For the poets reactions to the Augustan building program, see Welch (2005); Miller (2009: 185 252); for Ovid in particular, see Miller (2002) and Huskey (2006) on Tr. 3.1. 3 RG 8.12 ( exempla maiorum revocavi ). S ee Galinsky (1998: 16, 100 106), esp. on Hor. Od. 3.6.45 8 and RG 6.1; cf. Cooley (2009: ad loc. ). The term itself is complicated: see Linke and Stemmler (2000); Pina Polo (2004: 147). 4 RG 1 3; Suet. Aug. 22. Augustan peace is reflected in the frequent (a lbeit vague) contemporary Golden Age images, found in poetry and the plastic arts: see Galinsky (1998: 90 100; 106 21); cf. Zanker (1990: 167 92). On the image itself see Baldry (1952), on the Ara Pacis in addition to Galinsky and Zanker, above, see H olliday (1990); Elsner (1991). 5 I employ the term fundamental to Galinsky (1998: 10 41). That this relationship developed organically between princeps and populus differs from, e.g. Syme (1939); Zanker (1990); Kienast (1999). My reading is in turn influenced by the work of Woodman and West (1984: 195); Favro (1996: 105 16); Rea (2007: 61 3); Cooley (2009); Welch (2012). I consider Augustus monarchic tendencies on a spectrum opposite his republicanism, and that he is in turn a participant in (as opposed to the sole author of) Romes new civic contract. 6 Augustus and his cronies were well known patrons of the arts. Zanker (1990: 252) considers the interaction between patron and artist to be quite rigid; cf. Galinsky (1998: 244 9) on poetry, who argues that the poets responded organically to turbulent contemporary events. On the complexities of poetic patronage, see White (1978) and (1993).
128 consider this strategy within two categories: first, the destabilization of the physical environment, and second, of language itself. Destabilization of the Physical Environment Ovid frequently laments the frig id, violent landscape of Tomis as a contrast to the charm and security of Roman Italy In light of Ovids po etic successes in exile, this constant grief undermined the existence and necessity of the stability promised by the Augustan regime: even without the assured benefits of life in Augustan Rome, Ovid continues to compose verse of the highest quality. Ovids Roman garden, for example, provided the perfect spot for quiet poetic contemplation ( Tr. 1.11.35 44) while the joys of both city life and farming allowed Ovid a necess ary respite from mental anguish, a break painfully removed by exile ( P. 1.8.25 62).7 Be cause Rome provided Ovid with an atmosphere conducive to poetic composition, Tomis must function as a poetic foil to the stability of Romes urban core and the Italian countryside. Augustan peace is a myth in Tomis ,8 travel impossible and dangerous,9 and t he climate forbids anything but wormwood from flourishing.10 Subsequently farming, a common Ovidian and Augustan metaphor for the poetic act, is impossible. Ovids references to farming in Tomis, therefore, function as poetic signposts and are meant to sign ify the breakdown of the 7 Barbarian incursions here render farming impossible, a premise closely linked in Ovids exilic laments with the horren deous climate (cf. Tr. 5.2.45 78). This organization forms a likely intertext with G. 3.349 54; cf. Williams (1994: 26 34), who is more concerned with the generic implications of Ovids idealized rustic worlds. 8 Such is the final, desperate plea of Tr. 2. 577 8: tutius exilium pauloque quietius oro, / ut par delicto sit mea poena suo, I beg only a slightly safer and quieter place of exile, so that my punishment might be equal to my transgression. See also: Tr. 5.2.45 78, 5.7.11 12; P. 1.2.13 14, 1.8.5 6, 2.5.18 19. 9 Travel outside the city walls is impossible on multiple levels: sheer danger is a deterrent, as is inclement weather ( Tr. 3.10.47 8), while on the other hand impossible journeys are the norm in Tomis ( P. 4.10.32 4). 10 E.g. Tr. 3.1.23 4.
129 poetic act resulting from his anti Augustan environment Ovid solidifies this reading through his artful reversals of Augustan Golden Age imagery in exile: Tomis not only mimics the literary underworld, it does so through frequent and specific reconfigurations of contemporary poetic representations.11 By drawing on poetic conceptions of the underworld, then Ovid signifies his own reference to poetry, the impossibility of poetic composition and the breakdown of Augustus ensured s tability. Nowhere does the Tomitan landscape elicit this concept of poetic instability more clearly than at ex P onto 2.7.65 74: Est aliquid patriis uicinum finibus esse: 2.7.65 ultima me tellus, ultimus orbis habet. Praestat et exulibus pacem tua laur ea, Caesar: Pontica finitimo terra sub hoste iacet. Tempus in agrorum cultu consumere dulce est: non patitur uerti barbarus hostis humum. 2.7.70 Temperie caeli corpusque animusque iuuatur: frigore perpetuo Sarmatis ora riget. Est in aqua dulci non inuidiosa uoluptas: aequoreo bibitur cum sale mixta palus Its something to be near the borders of your homeland: the furthest land, the furthest world hold s me Your laurel promises peace even for the exile, Caesar: the Pontic land lies hard by the borders of enemies. Its nice to spend time cultivating the fields: the barbarian enemy does not allow the soil to be tilled. The body and mind are aided by a temperate climate: the shores of Sarmatia lie stiff with perpetual frost. An unenvied pleasur e exists in sweet water: marsh water mixed with sea salt is my drink. Ovid first emphasizes his distance from Caesar : his place of exile is the antipode of Italy ( ultma me tellus ultimus orbis 2.7.66) Tomis is not only the physical opposite of Augustan Rome, but also the metaphorical opposite. This distinction between the two locales ensures that, although Ovid lives under Roman rule, he has no share o f the 11 Ov ids Tomitan underworld is particularly Vergilian in its conception; see Williams (1994: 12 49); Gaertner (2005) on P. 1.8.
130 Augustan peace (2.7.67 8) and therefore cannot safely farm (2.7.69 70). The reference to farming hints at a poetic subtext; the inference is solidified in the subsequent lines: Ovids mind and body are harmed by the harsh Sarmatian winter (2.7.71 2) and his water is filthy and salty (2.7.73 4). The reference to Callimachus Hymn to Apollo (2.108 12) pr ovides an obvious point of departure: Ovids inspirational spring is tainted. He has, in effect, created an antithetical landscape, based purely on the physical attributes of Tomis. The lament her e is not meant to evoke pathos as part of a continuous strea m of Ovidian complaint. Instead, Ovid bemoans his place of exile as a means to highlight the failure of Augustan stability since it was the emperor himself who imposed the death sentence. As a result of that condemnation, Augustus becomes responsible for the difficulty, if not impossibility of poetic composition Ultimately this exilic instability calls into question the necessity of Augustus political stability: although he has no share of peace in exile, Ovid nevertheless manages to compose poetry of the highest Callimachean and Augustan standards essentially undercutting the accepted premise of Augustan peace as a prerequisite to Roman stability and therefore quality verse. Destabilization of Language and Art The linguistic isolation12 brought on by exile also destabilizes Ovids poetic act. The poet complains that he has no learned audience or critics to comment on his verse, nor even books in Latin and Greek ( Tr. 3.14.37 40) Scholars since Luck have noted that Ovid responds to this breakdown with his exilic letters demonstrating some level of 12 Williams (1994: 24) Linguistic isoloation is a feature of exile that crosses boundaries of time, georgraphy and culture. See Dolbhofer (1987: 100 16); Stevens (2009).
131 continued poetic success. On the other hand, this linguistic destabilization forces a metamorphosis on the poets part:13 as per the imperial sentence that denounced his poetry, Ovid changes his poetic course, composing an imperial encomium in Getic ( P. 4.13) essentially the opposite of his urbane Ars Amatoria or Metamorphoses This two pronged literary response matches Ovids conception of the destabilized Tomitan universe: just as life in exile was a reversal of life at Rome and Ovids continued poetic success undermined Augustus new vision for Italy, so too is Ovids new art and language in exile a reversal of his Ars in Rome, while his successes ( the exilic epistles themselves and his Getic panegyric ) reca st the emperor in a negative light Ovid employs metapoetry as a means to underscore the compulsory silence and solitude brought on by exile. T he interaction between poetry and poet magnifies his seclusion: t ears s mudge the text of his epistles,14 effectiv ely ruining his poetic act, and the exilic waters on which he sails mark his pages and blot out his verses ( Tr. 1.11.39 40). Salt water even fills Ovids mouth, rendering his speech futile and stopping the words in his throat ( Tr. 1.2.13 16). Aug ustus mis guided exile destabilizes the poetic act, by blotting out Ovids words and choking his poetic voice. That the exilic epistles maintain Ovidian standards of Callimachean and Augustan poetry could be considered success in and of itself; Ovid, however, was not content to hide behind self deprecation and victimization In the conceptual universe of Ovids exile, the emperors displeasure with his previously ingenious poetry forced the poet to compos e a new, loathsome encomium in Getic. When Ovid delivers his exilic 13 Ovids inclusion of his own life in the Metamorphoses is programmatic: see Tr. 1.117 22. 14 Tr. 1.1.13 14, 3.1.15 16, 4.1.95 6; cf. Prop. 4.3.
132 encomium of the emperor ( post mortem praise for Augustus), he plays on the Metamorphoses ,15 specifically the catasterization of Caesar ( Met. 15.745 852). While the poem itself does not survive, the subject does ( P. 4.13.23 6): Materiam quaeris? Laudes : de Caesare dixi! Adiuta est nouitas numine nostra dei. Nam patris Augusti docui mortale fuisse 4.13.25 corpus, in aetherias numen abisse domos You ask after my theme? Praise poetry: I have spoken about Caesar! My novel task was aided by my gods divine power. For I taught how the body of our father Augustus was mortal, but his divine spirit departed to the heavenly sphere Ovids theme matches Metamorphoses 15.746 9, with one catch: the apotheosis of Julius Caesar was rendered in Latin, whi le Augustus is in Getic ( A! pudet et Getico scripsi sermone libellum / structaque sunt nostris barbara uerba modis Ah! Its shameful, I have composed a little book in the Getic language, and Ive set barbaric words to my meter, P. 4.13.19 20). Libellum recalls Catullus feigned modesty in poem 1.1 ( lepidum novum libellum ), signifying that Ovids shame ( pudet 19; barbara verba, 20) masks deeper feelings of pride. The breakdown of language and art imposed upon the poet by Augustus have worked their magic (so to speak),16 and now Ovid can only write the type of poetry which the emperors punishment demanded, barbaric panegyric. Stylistically, this is a damning association: Augustus is figured as a Hellenistic monarch 15 Cf. the extensive interaction between the Met and Ovids promised praise for Germanicus in P. 4.8. Major topoi from the immortal Met. are recycled in Ovids promised immortalization of the imperial heir (c. 4.8.49 62): Thebes ( 4.8. 53) figures prominently in the Metamorphoses and Chaos (57) is the very first topic in the entire work ( Met. 1.1 20). The gigantomachy (59; Met. 1.151 76), the river Styx (60), Bacchus conquering India (61; Met. 15.413) and even Hercules at Oechalia (62; Met. 9.136 40) can be found in Ovids preexilic masterpiece. 16 They have deteriorated Ovid s poetic skill to the extent that he now composes in barbarian languages. See, e.g. P. 3.2.40 (= Tr. 5.12.58): nam didici Getice Sarmaticeque loqui Ive learned to speak Getic and Sarmatian; 4.13.18: nec te mirari, si sint ui tiosa, decebit / carmina quae faciam paene poeta Getes nor should you be amazed, if these verses are shameful, its fitting: I made them as very nearly a Getic poet;
133 who not only desires tedious praise poet ry,17 but encourages the composi tion of that poetry in backward, provincial languages. The Tomitans, antithetical as they are to norms of cultured Latin poetics, enjoy Ovids poem: et caput et plenas omnes mouere pharetras, / et longum Getico murmur in ore fuit they nodded both their heads and full quivers, and there was a long rumble in their Getic mouths (P. 4.13.19 20). Ovid tacitly implies that Augustus also demands this type of poetry because he sent the author to Tomis in the first place. The awar d Ovid receives for his composition at ex P onto 4.14.55 6 further implicates Augustus: tempora sacrata mea sunt velata corona, / publicus invito quam favor inposuit my head is veiled with a sacred crown, which public favor placed there, though I was unwi lling. It may be reasonably assumed that the crown was laurel ,18 a symbol for poetic achievement and, ironically, Augustus patron deity Apollo. That it graced Ovids head unwilling must be double entendre: Ovid receives Getic (and by extension, the emper ors) approval by composing praise poetry, and his unwillingness is not on account of the authors self claimed poverty of verse, but rather for the language and genre of its composition. Ovids response, then, to the collapse of his native language and ar s is to produce the new poetry of the Augustan age: provincial encomium ,19 perhaps as it occurred to him that any genuine attempt at such poetry would be fruitless in securing a return.20 In doing so, he re envisioned the emperor as a malus interpres and add ed new meaning to his own, now timeless 17 Augustus notably rejected such associations in favor of a more republican persona: on the development of his late republican image, see Zanker (1990: 5 77); cf. Galinsky (1998); Cooley (2009). On the encomiastic role of Hellenistic panegyric see esp. Cameron (1995: 263 302). 18 Green (2005: ad loc. ). 19 On Ovids construction of the imperial citizen, see Habinek (1998: 151 70). 20 Such is the immediate realization at P. 4.13.39 42.
134 description of exile: barbarus hic ego sum Given his metapoetic play with speech, poetry, and the emperors inability to comprehend quality Latin verse, the context of that quote is telling: barbarus hic ego sum, qui non intellegor ulli / et rident stolidi uerba Latina Getae here I am the barbarian, I who am understood by none, the stupi d Getae laugh at my Latin words (Tr. 5.10.37 8). Ovid has become an outcast in a land of Augusti By undercutting the emperors perceived image and aggrandizing his own poetic act in exile, Ovid achieves a rebalance. The audiences focus is shifted from the emperors overbearing political clout to his intellectual shortcomings, and from Ovids crushing political defeat to hi s conti nued production of highquality poetry In poeticizing language, speech, his exilic journey, and even Pontus itself, Ovid overcomes the instability of exile, and denounces the emperor for his nave approach to Latin poetry. I ndeed, by mingling poetry and r eality in exile, Ovid enacts the very misreading of his Ars Amatoria which led the emperor to banish him in the first place. Because Ovidian metapoetics are a pervasive feature of the exilic epistles, this project has attempted to situate that metapoetry w ithin the larger political and poetic context to which it responded, especially with regards to Ovids shifting relationship with the emperor and the balance he wished to present to his learned Roman audience. As a literary response to exile, the Tristia a nd Epistulae ex Ponto maintained a focused goal: to develop a unique audience appreciation for the technical difficulty and physical danger associated with Ovids poetic act, and contrast this with Augustus perceived failures, all couched within the spher e that meant so much to post civil war Rome: stability Once the reader looks past Ovids ceaseless self deprecation, fundamental
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149 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Thomas George Hendren took his bac helors degrees in history and classical studies from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2007, with minors in French and art history As an undergraduate he studied Greek history and archaeology in Athens at the American School for Classical Studies. He earned a masters degree in classical studies from the University of Florida in 2009 and studied Roma n history and archaeology at the American Academy in Rome during the summer of 2010. He defended his dissertation on December 3, 2012 and earned the Ph.D. in classical studies from the University of Florida in M ay 2013.