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Introduction - The redress of exile

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Chapter Summary

This chapter commences with a few poetic verses, in which Ovid contemplates the justice of his exile as he finds a way to overcome it: he lays claim to the power of his imagination to return to Rome and watch the poems addressee, Graecinus, assume the consulship. Here, one relates most closely to what the Irish poet Seamus Heaney has called the redress of poetry. There is no fully satisfactory explanation for why Augustus took it upon himself to banish Ovid, although such a punishment ought to have attracted wide notice in Rome and throughout the empire. As the pendant to Ovids representation of himself as a grief-stricken poet in exile, the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto also enshrine an image of the Roman princeps as an angry god of retribution. Ovid draws this image by engaging with both contemporary historical events and the tradition of Greek and Roman poetry.

Keywords: Greek and Roman poetry; grief-stricken poet; King Augustus; Ovid in exile; redress; Tristia Epistulae ex Ponto



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