(This is a term paper that I did for one of the Writing classes at uni)
This paper aims to investigate the influence of exile on the Roman poet, Ovid. The theme of his poetry prior to banishment differs substantially from that produced during exile owing to the change in surroundings, experiences, and state-of-mind of the poet. Ovid also introduces certain new poetic elements into his poetry, during his exile, to enrich his work. Scholars of Classics have highlighted several differences between Ovid’s pre- and post- exilic poetry. Four of those differences will be explored in this research paper, which are, the autobiographical nature of post-exilic work, exploitation of the redressive capacity of poetry, usage of creative word-magic and promotion of self-mythology, including intertextuality. The title of this research paper “From Rome to Tomis and Back” is inspired by Ovid’s physical (exilic) journey from Rome to Tomis and his return to Rome in the form of his books (Tristia and Epistulae Ex Ponto), which were, wherein, preserved and left to be read and appreciated by generations to come.
On March 20, 43 BC the Italian Apennine valley of Sulmo saw the birth of one of the most celebrated poets of all time, Publius Ovidius Naso. More commonly known as Ovid, the poet-to-be belonged to an illustrious family of equestrian rank that lived in the city of Sulmo (present day Sulmona) to the east and slightly north of Rome.
Ovid received education in Sulmo and then in Rome for law and politics – an expected career for men belonging to a family of that standing. However with a natural flair for poetry, Ovid soon denounced his political training for the love of poetry. At the ripe age of seventeen/eighteen, Ovid began narrating his poems in public recitals. Over the years, his works Amores, Metamorphoses, Fasti, Epistulae Heroides, Ars Amatoria and a few others soon earned him the eyes, ears and attention of the society. (Mack, 1988, p. 13-14)