Ovid


The poetry of Ovid spans several genres and varies in style and theme as it follows the tragic life of the exiled literary giant. With fame coming to Ovid early, it is a baffling mystery as to why Ovid was exiled to Tomis, a small colony on the Black Sea. Despite his pleas for exoneration and salvation to the emperor, his family, and friends, Ovid remained on Tomis until his death in 18 A.D. Epistulae ex Ponto (Letters from the Black Sea), represents the last of his exiled poetry and denotes a transition of the poet's desperate pleas for deliverance to a quiet, yet still somewhat hostile, acceptance of the fate of his exile.
Ovid's writings from the period of his exile consist of poems sent in the form of letters, with the following titles: Tristia, Ibis, and Ex Ponto. The value of studying Ovid's Epistulae ex Ponto is both literarily and historically valuable in their own right. Edward Gibbon comments on this:
The nine Books of Epistles, which Ovid composed during the sevenfirst years of his melancholy exile, possess, besides the merit of elegance, a double value. They exhibit a picture of the human mind under very singular circumstances; and they contain many curious observations, which no Roman, except Ovid, could have had an opportunity of making (Vol. II, 216).
So it is true that Ovid had a unique perspective on Roman culture and also on the more primitive culture of Tomis and was in a unique position to report on both, having time on his hands and the inclination to expound on his experiences.
The value of Ovid's works in literature is that they were a unique creation unprecedented in Greek or Latin Literature. E.J. Kenney writes (Ovid, Sorrows…, iv):
For the type of poetry that Ovid was now called upon to write there was no precedent and no model. It is necessary, therefore, to regard the Tristia and the Epistulae ex Ponto in the light of a serious of poetic experiments, in which Ovid was fee…

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