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Siquid Habent Veri Vatum Praesagia: Ovid in the 1st-5th Centuries A.D.

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Chapter Summary

Roman poets adapted the alien meters of Greek to their own language through a long but accelerating process of trial and error. It would be a gross overstatement to say that Ovid created the rules, but in a sense he gave them the summa manus that he claimed he had not been able to give his great epic. At any rate, significant experimentation thereafter practically comes to an end. Ovid was the first major poet to fall foul of the new political realities of life under an autocrat, and the first to adapt to them by creating the elaborate mix of the personal and the panegyrical that the reader finds in the exile poetry. Not the least striking thing about Ovid's achievement in both mythological narrative and encomiastic writing is the flexibility of approach his works seem to have offered his more thoughtful successors.

Keywords: exile poetry; Greek language; Ovid; Roman poets; summa manus



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