How to Establish Your Fame Forever – Exemplified by Ovid

Ovid. {PD}

Wherever through the lands beneath her sway

The might of Rome extends, my words shall be

Upon the lips of men. If truth at all

Is stablished by poetic prophecy,

My fame shall live to all eternity.

- Ovid, Epilogue to the Metamorphoses

Well, Ovid, here I am reading your words two thousand or so years after you wrote them. And my Classics prof did describe you as perhaps one of the most important of the Latin poets (excluding Virgil). So is that the secret, then – declare your greatness loud enough until everyone else believes it? If that is, I should start ending off each blog post here with ‘by Harma-Mae Smit, her words shall be read for millennia.’

The Metamorphoses, in case you’re not a Latin scholar, is sort of a summary of all mythical tales of Greeks and Romans from the beginning of the world till Julius Caesar dies. I did enjoy reading it, especially when I came across a story I already knew because people told it to me as a kid (like Dadedalus and Icarus), though they never told kids Ovid was one who helped make the tale famous. It really helped me piece some of random Greek mythology together. So that much I enjoyed.

The one drawback is – did it really have to include women being kidnapped and assaulted by random gods and powerful men on every other page? I seriously spent a night dreaming of being kidnapped, and I don’t think that’s the emotion the poem was supposed to raise in me. It made me truly thank God, though, that I was not born a helpless woman in Ancient Greece.

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