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Ovid: Ars Amatoria

4. What is the purpose of the mythological exempla in the Ars Amatoria?

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this lecture, we think about the purpose of mythological exempla in the Ars Amatoria, focusing in particular on the myth of Procris and Cephalus in Book 3. In particular, we focus on: (i) the different types of mythological exempla in the Ars Amatoria; (ii) Lancelot Wilkinson’s argument that mythological exempla serve to add colour to the narrative and break the monotony of the poem; (iii) the story of Procris and Cephalus as it appears in the Ars Amatoria; (iv) Peter Green’s argument that the story of Procris and Cephalus reinforces the double-standards of Roman sexuality morality, i.e. the man gets away with his infidelity, while the woman is punished for it; (v) Victoria Rimell’s argument that the story is one of mutual infidelity and distrust, in which both Procris and Cephalus pay the price; (vi) Carole Newland’s argument that figures of Procris and Cephalus act as if they have read the Ars Amatoria, and thus expose the limitations of Ovid’s teaching; and (vi) the political implications of the myth of Procris and Cephalus, particularly in the context of Augustus’ moral legislation.

Reading list:
– P. Green, ‘The Innocence of Procris: Ovid Ars Amatoria 3.687-746’, Classical Journal 75 (1979), pp. 15-24
– C. Newlands, Ovid (Understanding Classics) (2015)
– V. Rimell, Ovid's Lovers: Desire, Difference and the Poetic Imagination (2010)
– L. Wilkinson, Ovid Recalled (1955)

Course

In this course, Dr Sharon Marshall (University of Exeter) explores Ovid’s Ars Amatoria. The course is structured around five critical questions, and in each case Dr Marshall provides a summary of recent scholarship pertaining to the question, as well as a few additional thoughts of her own. The questions are as follows: (1) How successful is the Ars Amatoria as a didactic poem?; (2) Is the Ars Amatoria a pro- or anti-Augustan poem?; (3) Should Book 3 of the Ars Amatoria come as a surprise?; (4) What is the purpose of the mythological exempla in the Ars Amatoria?; and (5) Is the Ars Amatoria sympathetic to women?. Each lecture comes with a short reading list for those that are interested in looking at the scholarship in more detail.

Lecturer

Dr Sharon Marshall is Senior Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Exeter, specialising in Roman epic, love elegy and the Roman novel.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Marshall, S. (2022, July 15). Ovid: Ars Amatoria - What is the purpose of the mythological exempla in the Ars Amatoria? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/ovid-ars-amatoria/what-is-the-purpose-of-the-mythological-exempla-in-the-ars-amatoria

MLA style

Marshall, S. "Ovid: Ars Amatoria – What is the purpose of the mythological exempla in the Ars Amatoria?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Jul 2022, https://massolit.io/courses/ovid-ars-amatoria/what-is-the-purpose-of-the-mythological-exempla-in-the-ars-amatoria

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