This course will have as its object the mythological epic poem Metamorphoses, written by Ovid in the first few years of the 1st century AD. Ovid had long been a very successful elegiac poet and represented himself as a most skilled praeceptor amoris, “teacher of love”. But at the apex of the Principate, the new political regime established in Rome by
Octavian Augustus, Ovid decided to partake in the rhetoric surrounding the new socio-political and cultural reality by responding to Vergil’s Aeneid, which had just become a “classic” in the 1st century BC. Vergil re-founded Latin literature in such a way that anyone aspiring to take a seat at the table of canonical authors had to confront and deal
with the formal and ideological aspects of his epic poem. Ovid did so in his own way, as he never abandoned his wittiness, ambiguity, and literary resourcefulness, on account of which his materials stand out from the entire classical canon and have made him one recognizable, and very often extensively imitated, model for writers from both his own time and posterity. Among many revolutionary aspects of his work is the very choice of myth, and in particular stories of transformation, as the poem’s main theme, with a very complex and sometimes elusive web of interconnections among stories serving as its structure. The poem winds up being, as promised in the proem, a history of the universe and one that will find its conclusive justification with the arrival on earth of Julius Caesar and his son Augustus.
Fall for 2016-2017
Description forthcoming on Department of Classics webpage.
Prerequisites: CLSL 101
Other academic years
There is information about this course number in other academic years: