The Art of Love Background

The Art of Love Background

Written in Latin between 1 B.C.E. and 2 C.E., The Art of Love is a three-book didactic elegy on how to seduce and maintain a relationship with a woman or man. The Art of Love contains various allusions to Greek and Roman mythology, especially the legend of the Rape of the Sabine Women.

The Art of Love enjoyed a relatively high degree of popularity in the years following its publication. Controversial in its approach to sexuality and gender roles, the elegy also received harsh criticism from the date of publication up until the 20th century, when it was banned by the United States government. Historians debate whether or not Ovid’s banishment from Rome by Augustus in 8 C.E. was directly related to The Art of Love's content.

Ovid also wrote a short sequel to The Art of Love, titled "The Remedy for Love". This poem focused on heartbreak and how to deal with or avoid it. "The Remedy for Love" is only 814 lines, and is much lesser known than its predecessor.

The Art of Love has been referenced, adapted, and interpreted in a variety of manners and contexts. Perhaps its most influential impact, however, was on the phenomenon of courtly love. The influence of Ovid’s works can be seen in one of the most famous texts on the topic: Andreas Capellanus’s De Amore.

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