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Ovid the Amores

Elegy-by-elegy summary of Ovid the Amores Book 1

By

Ovid

Ovid. Image ID: 1806132 Ovid.

NYPL DIGITAL LIBRARY
The following are summaries of each of the elegies in Ovid's Amores Book I. Included in each is a link to the Latin. For a translation into English of Ovid The Amores, see Kline's public domain version. Elegy titles are based on this translation.

Book I of the Amores includes programmatic elegies, as Diotima's excerpt from Batston points out in Notes on Ovid and the Amores by William W. Batstone. The first elegy explains the meter and topic; the 15th, Ovid's goal -- eternal fame. Diotima also provides an Ovid Bibliography with entries through 2004.

Ovid The Amores Book I

  • THE THEME OF LOVE
    I.1 Cupid serves as Ovid's guide and takes away a meter from the heroic dactyllic hexameter to produce an 11 meter couplet. Cupid appears throughout the Amores, sometimes accompanied by his mother, Venus.

    Elegiac Couplet | Dactylic Hexameter

  • LOVE'S VICTIM
    I.2 Ovid admits to Cupid that his arrows have left their mark on the poet's heart.
  • HIS ASSETS AS A LOVER
    I.3 Ovid establishes his background as an equestrian and says he's a constant lover.
  • THE DINNER PARTY
    I.4 Ovid is to attend a dinner party where both his mistress and her husband will be, so he discusses how he'll arrange have secret intimacies with her.
  • CORINNA IN AN AFTERNOON
    I.5 Ovid describes the afternoon that Corinna spends with him. He discusses her beautiful body and says -- without further detail on their actions -- that after they tired each other, they rested.
  • THE DOOR KEEPER
    I.6 Ovid, admittedly slightly intoxicated by wine, as well as love, wants the door keeper to let him in so he can see his mistress. Ovid says he once came to the other's assistance when the door keeper's mistress was going to punish him.
  • THE ASSAULT
    I.7 Ovid is remorseful because he hit his love, pulled her hair, and scratched her. He asks her to retaliate in kind.
  • THE PROCURESS
    I.8 Ovid listens to Dipsas, an aptly named dipsomaniac procurer, tell a young woman that a rich and handsome man fancies her. She says he's much to be preferred to the poor poet, i.e., Ovid, who happens to be eavesdropping and gets caught.
  • LOVE IS WAR
    I.9 Ovid compares lovers with soldiers and the husbands of mistresses to the enemy. Love motivates an otherwise idle Ovid.
  • THE POET'S GIFT
    I.10 Ovid is repulsed by his mistress' prostitute-like request for gifts. Pleasure is had on both sides, so she should not be looking at him, a poor man, for material gifts. Ovid's gift is to make young women famous with his poetry.
  • HIS NOTE TO HER
    I.11 Ovid tells Corinna's maid what to say to Corinna about him and urges her to get Corinna to write a message telling him to come to her.
  • HER REPLY
    I.12 In response to the preceding, Corinna has replied that today is impossible. Ovid takes out his aggravation on the materials of the message tablet.
  • THE DAWN
    I.13 This time Ovid has managed to get his mistress to spend the night with him, so he's seeing the dawn with the pleasure of her sleeping beside him, but dawn means the end, so he wants Dawn to wait. You can figure out whether or not Dawn obliges Ovid.
  • HER HAIR
    I.14 Ovid takes his mistress to task for dying and, consequently, ruining her hair. Since her hair has fallen out, she'll have to get a wig made from a captive German's hair. She need not totally despair, however, since hair does grow back.

    See Baldness, Germany and the Date of Ovid Amores 1.14

  • HIS IMMORTALITY
    I.15 Ovid again discusses his own idleness. Ovid doesn't want to be political, but seeks eternal fame through his poetry.

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