Shave Your Armpits and Don’t Smell Like a Billy-Goat: Ovid’s Art of Love, Relationships and Adultery | Ancient Origins Members Site


Shave Your Armpits and Don’t Smell Like a Billy-Goat: Ovid’s Art of Love, Relationships and Adultery

Shave Your Armpits and Don’t Smell Like a Billy-Goat: Ovid’s Art of Love, Relationships and Adultery

Born a year after the assassination of Julius Caesar, Ovid’s first works appeared in the early days of the Augustan principate. Ovid wrote various works throughout his long career, but none so insightful for the everyday person as his Ars Amatoria  (“The Art of Love”).

At first glance, the three books of Ars Amatoria are a collection of short poems playing with the common tropes of love stories: the locked-out lover, the slave go-between, the traditional symptoms of love, the rich rival, the witch-bawd, infidelity, and the occasional successful erotic encounter. However, they also include elegiacs which teaches the reader how to be a good lover. This is followed by the 814-line poem Remedia amoris (“The Cure for Love”), which teaches the reader how to be good at breaking up.

Statue of Ovid

Statue of Ovid (CC BY-SA 3.0 ro)


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