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Praecepta Amoris: Ovid's Didactic Elegy

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Chapter Summary

Ovid's earliest didactic elegiac poem, the Medicamina Faciei Femineae, is interesting both in its own right and in the ways it anticipates the Ars Amatoria and the Remedia Amoris. There is any number of elements in the Ars which could have offended Augustus. In his defense, Ovid focuses on the charge that married women learned adulterous behavior from his teachings. The use of the famous Mars/Venus love affairan unequivocal case of adultery as an exemplum has been commented on. The praeceptor of the Remedia is not just an expert teacher who advises on how to be rid of love rather than how to find it. Ovid's didactic persona undergoes a development, from the teacher/metaphrast of the Medicamina to the elegiac lover/teacher of the Ars, and finally in the Remedia there is the added dimension of the poet as healer.

Keywords: Ars Amatoria; Augustan adultery laws; Augustus; didactic elegy; Ovid; Praecepta Amoris; Remedia Amoris; Sabine women



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