One of the fullest and most enjoyable sources of information on Roman myth and religion, the Fasti is both a calendar of daily rituals and a witty sequence of stories recounted in a variety of styles and genres, comic, tragic, elegiac, epic, and erotic. Yet many of them contain uncomfortable political echoes. Augustus tried to control his subjects by imposing his own version of history and annual cycle of festivals on them, but Ovid - banished to the Black Sea - brilliantly debunks the official heroes and power structures. Endlessly playful, this is also a work of real integrity and courage, a superb climax to the career of one of Rome's greatest writers.
Written after he had been banished to the Black Sea city of Tomis by Emperor Augustus, the Fasti is Ovid's last major poetic work. Both a calendar of daily rituals and a witty sequence of stories recounted in a variety of styles, it weaves together tales of gods and citizens together to explore Rome's history, religious beliefs and traditions. It may also be read as a subtle but powerful political manifesto which derides Augustus' attempts to control his subjects by imposing his own mythology upon them: after celebrating the emperor as a Jupiter-on-earth, for example, Ovid deliberately juxtaposes a story showing the king of the gods as a savage rapist. Endlessly playful, this is also a work of integrity and courage, and a superb climax to the life of one of Rome's greatest writers.
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Ovid (43 BC-AD 17) was born in central Italy. He was sent to Rome where he realised that his talent lay with poetry rather than with politics. His first published work was 'Amores', a collection of short love poems. He was expelled in A.D. 8 by Emperor Augustus for an unknown reason and went to Tomis on the Black Sea, where he died.
"Fasti has burst upon the scholarly scene as a work of tremendous importance for our understanding of religion under the Principate...have provided us with what must be seen as a new commentary upon the poem...But the real value of this new Fasti, of course, lies not in its front or back material but in the lively rendition of Ovid's own words...Boyle and Woodard have given us a fresh-sounding poem with updated diction." Christopher Brunelle, Boston College
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