Ars Amatoria

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Ars Amatoria

Postby Victoria Aurelia Ovensa on Fri Sep 08, 2006 12:08 am

Salvete omnes!!

Was Ovid's Ars Amatoria ever taken seriously as a manual of seduction, or was it perceived mostly as a satirical piece by contemporaries and those to follow? I understand there is speculation it was for the Ars that he was banished to Romania, but it is not known for certain; with that in mind, does the Ars reflect "everyman's" morality in the Rome of the time, with Augustus' moral reforms representing a "right-wing" minority -- or were Augustus' ideals more reflective of the mood of the people, and the morals of the Ars simply those of a subversive, "bohemian" minority, a la the underworld of pre-war Paris?
That asked, I will say that the material in the Ars bears a striking resemblance to the later "courtly love" ideals of mediaeval Europe, and seems to form the core of a peculiarly European view of love, sex and marriage; the assumption that both husband and wife will seek out lovers while remaining committed to each other as life partners seems eminently practical, in view of human nature, and at wide variance with the views imported from the desert religions.
What say you all?
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Ovid

Postby Aldus Marius on Sat Sep 09, 2006 5:11 am

Salve, mi Aurelia,

I don't think either set of values reflected the morality of the everyday Roman-on-the-street. He would have been as little affected by the attitudes of the Ovids and Augusti of his world as a homeless man is by the mores of most celebrities these days.

Rather, I think Ovid's book spoke more to the young and "fashionable" among the well-to-do. Affluent people can afford to follow trends. Publius the Dockworker had other things to do.

I can't prove it, but it may be that the resemblance of the Ars Amatoria to the later Bokes of Courtesie (which set down the rules of courtly love) may have been due to, if not the latter's direct descent from the former, at least the traces of Ovid's influence.

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Artes Amatoriae

Postby Valerius Claudius Iohanes on Thu Mar 22, 2007 1:30 am

Salvete sodales omnes -

At all levels of society there are people who are naturally promiscuous and people who disdain or don't want such things - but as Marius noster has said, while it might become de rigeur among the wealthy, it would be less enforced as a fad among the humbler and the working folk. The one had a stake in a competition of coolness and appearances, the other had a stake in keeping body and soul together.

Thais Aurelia Ovensa nostra raised a contrast in her post:

I will say that the material in the Ars bears a striking resemblance to the later "courtly love" ideals of mediaeval Europe, and seems to form the core of a peculiarly European view of love, sex and marriage; the assumption that both husband and wife will seek out lovers while remaining committed to each other as life partners seems eminently practical, in view of human nature, and at wide variance with the views imported from the desert religions.


I want to mention a pretty good article on the Hotmail page today (you may have read it) that treats the contrast - the link:

http://men.msn.com/articlebl.aspx?cp-documentid=4096355&page=1&GT1=9212&su=hotmail.com/cgi-bin/hmhome&wa=wsignin1.0

This contrast -- the sort of French attitude vs. the sort of American attitude -- has bedeviled me for years. The French notion tantalizes with dreams but also unhinges with fear of being the easy victim of sexual betrayal; I note that the mass media are almost entirely in the French camp on this - it's much more sensational. That the same controversy affected Augustus and his times is more than interesting.

In any event, I thought the article was a good discussion of the contrast.

Vale omnes.
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