Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso (43BC-17/18AD) who, as he described it, was destroyed by ‘carmen et error’, a poem and a mistake. His works have been preserved in greater number than any of the poets of his age, even Virgil, and have been among the most influential. The versions of many of the Greek and Roman myths we know today were his work, as told in his epic Metamorphoses and, together with his works on Love and the Art of Love, have inspired and disturbed readers from the time they were created. Despite being the most prominent poet in Augustan Rome at the time, he was exiled from Rome to Tomis on the Black Sea Coast where he remained until he died. It is thought that the ‘carmen’ that led to his exile was the Art of Love, Ars Amatoria, supposedly scandalising Augustus, but the ‘error’ was not disclosed.

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  • Maria Wyke 8 episodes
    Professor of Latin at University College London
  • Gail Trimble 2 episodes
    Brown Fellow and Tutor in Classics at Trinity College at the University of Oxford
  • Dunstan Lowe No other episodes
    Senior Lecturer in Latin Literature at the University of Kent

Reading list

  • Ovid and His Love Poetry
    Rebecca Armstrong (Duckworth, 2005) Google Books →
  • Ovid's Presence in Contemporary Women's Writing: Strange Monsters
    Fiona Cox (Oxford University Press, 2018) Google Books →
  • Ovid: A Poet on the Margins
    Laurel Fulkerson (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016) Google Books →
  • The Ovidian Heroine as Author: Reading, Writing, and Community in the Heroides
    Laurel Fulkerson (Cambridge University Press, 2005) Google Books →
  • Ovid: The Poet and his Work
    Niklas Holzberg (trans. G. M. Goshgarian) (Cornell University Press, 2002) Google Books →
  • A Companion to Ovid
    P. Knox (ed.) (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009) Google Books →
  • Ovid: A Very Short Introduction
    Llewelyn Morgan (Oxford University Press, 2020) Google Books →
  • Ovid
    Carole Newlands (I. B. Tauris, 2015) Google Books →
  • Ovid's Heroides: A New Translation and Critical Essays
    Ovid (trans. Paul Murgatroyd, Bridget Reeves and Sarah Parker) (Routledge, 2017) Google Books →
  • Ovid
    Katharina Volk (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: m000vhk5

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000vhk5

Auto-category: 870 (Latin literature)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. Ovid, the great Roman poet in the Augustan age, was, by his own account, destroyed by a poem and a mistake, exiled from Rome to the Romanian coast, where he remained until his death.