The Poet and the Prince: Ovid and Augustan Discourse
Author: Alessandro Barchiesi
Publisher: University of California Press
Release Date: September 30, 1997
In this fresh assessment of Ovid's fascinating poem Fasti, Alessandro Barchiesi provides a new vision of the interaction between Ovid and the renowned ruler Augustus. Fasti, a poem about the holidays and feast days of the Roman calendar, was written while Ovid was in Rome and revised while he was in exile on the barbarian frontier, banished by Augustus from the cultured society of Rome. Ovid's work in exile evinces complicated motives; he addresses Augustus and begs him to lift the despised exile, but at the same time covertly critiques Augustus's "New Rome." Although recent scholarship has concentrated on the oppositions between poet and ruler revealed in Ovid's work, Barchiesi's analysis transcends the opposition of pro-Augustan or anti-Augustan readings. In a lively, vigorous narrative that relies on close textual analysis, Barchiesi underscores the important poetic choices as well as the political considerations made by Ovid in Fasti. Ultimately, his analysis leads us to a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between patrons and poets. Both scholars and general readers will find a newly meaningful and interesting Ovid in these pages. Translated with revisions from Il poeta e il principe: Ovido e il discorso Augusteo (1994).