This second edition of volume VI of the Loeb Ovid continues the principles on which I have revised earlier volumes. Numerous alterations of the text and translation became imperative in view of much excellent work published in the last sixty years, foremost among which rank Georg Luck’s editions. Moreover, especially since the Second World War, a juster appreciation of Ovid’s exile poetry has won acceptance, and this is now reflected by the inclusion of various studies in a thoroughly revised Bibliography. Professor Wheeler’s fine introduction has been left intact apart from a small amount of abbreviation at the end, but I have ventured to rewrite (without, however, suppressing his judgement) the note on the cause of Ovid’s exile which originally appeared on pages xxiv f. Finally, I gratefully acknowledge several debts to a lecture by Professor John Richmond and even more to Dr. J. B. Hall, who at the proof stage of this second edition generously made available to me three unpublished articles of his on the textual criticism of these poems.
G. P. Goold
Yale UniversityMarch 1988
The works of Ovid himself, and especially the autobiography (T. iv. 10), supply most of the material for a sketch of his life. His fame, however, caused him to be mentioned often by later writers, and these, taken together, add not a little to the information derived from his own poems.
His full name was Publius Ovidius Naso, and he was born on March twentieth, 43 b.c., at Sulmo, the chief town of the Paeligni, about ninety miles by road east of Rome. The family was of old equestrian rank, and inscriptions prove that the name Ovidius was common only in the region of Ovid’s birthplace. In Sulmo, now Sulmona, the tradition of the poet still flourishes. The townspeople point out to the infrequent tourist his statue in the court of the Collegio Ovidio, the chief school of the town, and the remains of his villa, the Villa Ovidio, on the slopes of a neighbouring mountain. The main street of the town, the Corso Ovidio, preserves his name, and the letters S.M.P.E. (“Sulmo mihi patria est,” T. iv. 10. 3) are inscribed on the facades of monuments and at the head of public documents. In folk-lore also and popular song his name survives.
But though the statue is mediaeval, though the ruins are probably not connected with him, and the traditions are fancy, the beautiful country on which