Ovid: The Love Poems

Ovid: The Love Poems Analysis

Ovid's poems on love are always very tongue-in-cheek. He was known for his partly sarcastic, partly frivolous and open minded outlook on love. His poetry contains both references to physical and romantically love, both in sincere and humorous verses. His love poems, mostly written during the first phase of his poetry when he was still living within Rome and not in exile are comprised of three distinct collections of poems.

The first is called Amores, literally The Loves. Within this collection Ovid reinvents the poetic form of the elegy, putting Cupid (Love impersonated) at the centre. The poems contain references to marriage, affairs and what love can do to people in general. The style is humorous, with many self-references to the poet (as usual for elegies).

The second, and probably best known collection is called Ars Amatoria, the Art to Love. This book is comprised of a long "Lehrgedicht" (an instructing poem) that teaches the reader how to love. The mood of the book is again humorous and light hearted. Within this book the author’s loose attitudes towards fidelity is often addressed.

The three sections first teach man how to seduce women, the second how to keep a lover and the final addresses woman, telling them how to seduce a man.
The final collection, called Remedia Amoris (The Cure of Love), is an addendum to Ars Amatoria, teaching men how to get over a lost love. It gives practical tips, like burning letters and taking lovers.

In general, Ovid's love poetry gives the modern reader a firm insight into the societal conception of love and marriage in ancient Rome. While marriage was an important part of life, fidelity and true love were not prerequisites for it. The Roman was eager to play around and find new joy in different situations. The humorous and light hearted style of these love poems is something that will not be found again till modern times in love poetry.

Update this section!

You can help us out by revising, improving and updating this section.

Update this section

After you claim a section you’ll have 24 hours to send in a draft. An editor will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback.