« PreviousContinue »
8 ; Ibis 17), in which he was frustrated by the poet's wife (T. i. 6. 13 ; J^is I 5). T. iv. 9 looks as ifit were an announcement of the near publication of the Jöis. Who was this enemy whose name Ovid so persistently conceals has been a subject of controversy ; and Mr. Ellis does not venture to decide. After proving that he could not have been Corvinus, or M. Manilius (the author of the Astromomica), or C. Iulius Hyginus, though the last supposition has much to recommend it, he shows that he must have been some professional speaker ór delator, and suggests as alternatives the T. Labienus described by Seneca Controv. io praef. 4, or the famous astrologer Thrasyllus, the intimate of Tiberius. x. Ex Ponto Epistularum Libri IV.—A collection of letters to different persons at Rome, which, like the Tristia, consist of lamentations over his miseries and supplications to those addressed to use every means to procure his recall. The difference between the two collections is that, while in the Tristia the persons addressed are not named, in the Pontic Epistles the mames are added, P. i. 1. 17 : * rebus idem, titulo differt : et epistula cui sit non occultato nomine missa docet.' The greater part of P. i-iii. was written in the spring and summer of A.v.c. 765 (A.D. 12) ; and the whole three books were, unlike the Tristia, collected * sine ordine ' (P. iii. 9. 53), and sent to Rome to Brutus, to be published by him about the beginning ofA.v.c. 766 (A.D. 13). (See P. iii. 9. 51—54.) Book IV, which consists of 93o lines, abbut 2oo above the usual average of Ovid's books, and which, unlike the other books, has no dedicatory exordium, consists probably of scattered poems left by Ovid when he was surprised by death, and which were intended by him to form part of two books ; so that the number of books of the Pontic Epistles might correspond with those of the 7ristia, These poems were collected and published by some friend after his death '. xi. Halieuticom Liber.—A didactic fragment of 132 lines on
the natural history of the fishes of the Black. Sea, begun by the poet shortly before his death '. Besides these extant works there were others which have perished: a tragedy, Medea ; an elegy on the death of M. Valerius Messalla (P. i. 7. 27, ff.); an epithalamium on the marriage of Paullus Fabius Maximus (P. i. 2. 133) ; a poem on the Pannonian triumph of Tiberius (P. iii. 4 ; cp. ii. 5. 27) ; one in the Getic language, in praise of the deified Augustus, his successor Tiberius, and the Imperial House generally (P. iv. 13. 19. ff.) ; another in honour of Augustus (P. iv. 6. 17. ff.) ; and a book of epigrams against the bad poets of the day (Quintil. vi. 3. 96). l , 6s r %^ •..-w ••• •* *•*
THE FRIENDS AND PATRONS OF OVID ADDRESSED IN THE TRISTIA AND PONTIC EPISTJLES.
As the poet himself remarks, the subject-matter of the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto is identical*; both are concerned mainly with laments over the miseries of his exile, and supplications to his friends at home to do all in their power to procure his recall, or at any rate that a less remote and dreary place of exile may be granted to him. The sole difference is that, in the Tristia the names of the persons addressed are suppressed, while in the Pontic Epistles they are openly given*. As the first book of the
* * Id volumen supremis suis temporibus inchoavit.'—Plin. H. N. 32. I 52. * P. iii. 9. 1 :— * quod sit in his eadem sententia, Brute, libellis, carmina nescio quem carpere nostra refers: nil nisi me terra fruar ut propiore rogare, et quam sim denso cinctus ab hoste, loqui.' * P. i. 1. 1 5, ff:— * invenies, quamvis non est miserabilis index, non minus hoc illo triste, quod ante dedi : rebus idem, titulo differt; et epistula cui sit non occultato nomine missa docet.'
Pontic Epistles followed so closely on the last of the Tristiaboth were finished in the course of 765/12—it is natural to enquire (1) why the names of the friends, so long suppressed, were so suddenly disclosed ; and (2) whether it is possible to identify any of the persons addressed in the Tristia. It is not difficult to answer the first of these questions. It would not have been safe for Ovid, at the beginning of his exile, to address by name his friends at Rome. Such an opem confession of connexion with the disgraced poet would have been likely to draw down upon them the anger of the Emperor. That this was the fear of the persons concerned appears from many passages in the Tristia': and even later there was still one friend who declined to allow his name to appear, to whom P. III. 6 is written. But the year 765/12 was the fourth of the poet's exile, and by this time the anger of Augustus had begun to abate, and he was contemplating the pardon of the offender, when he was overtaken by death*. Thus we may suppose that on the completion of the Tristia the poet saw that he need no longer fear to prejudice his friends by revealing their names; and accordingly laid aside all disguise in his new work, the Pontic Epistles. That the persons addressed in the two collections of letters are substantially the same there can be little doubt, both from close internal resemblances, and from the inherent probability that the same nearer circle of his friends and patrons would naturally be appealed to by the poet in each case. Consequently great ingenuity has been expended upon identifying these per'sons; and though much of the results of these attempts can only be regarded as * bold voyages into the sea of conjecture,' much has yet been established with tolerable certainty. The collection of the Tristia divides itself naturally into two classes of letters, those to the poet's nearer friends and patrons, and those of which his wife, the Emperor, the friendly reader, or
his inveterate personal enemy, is the subject. Of the fifty letters of the Tristia seventeen belong to the former class, thirty-two to the latter. Midway between the two stands the solitary poem, iii. 7, addresscd, unlikc thc rest, by namc, to the young poctess Perilla, over whose studies Ovid claims to exercise a fatherly supervision*. Class I. Those poems not addressed to friends and patróns. By far the larger number of the elegies which fall under this head are inscribed to the friendly reader ; these are' i. 2, i. 3, i. 4, i. 1o, i. I I ; iii. 1, iii. 2, iii. 9, iii. io, iii. 12, iii. 13; iv. I, iv. 2, iv. 6, iv. 8, iv. Io ; v. 1, v. io. The prologue of Book i, i. 1, is addressed to the book itself. Three poems are to the Emperor, iii. 8, v. 2, 45—78*, and Book ii. This last is one continuous essay in justification of the Ars Amatoria, in which Ovid shows with much cleverness, that if he had erred in treating delicate subjects, he had only followed the example of many of his predecessors, writers of established reputation both of Greece and Rome. To his wife there are six letters ; i. 6; iii. 3 ; iv. 3 ; v. 2, 1—44; v. I 1, and v. 14; and besides these v. 5 celebrates her birthday. One letter, v. 3, appeals in general terms to his poet friends. Lastly, three poems, iii. 1 1, iv. 9, v. 8, are directed against his relentless enemy, the subject of the Ibis. Class II. Letters addressed expressly to friends and patrons. A careful study of the Tristia and Pontic Epistles shows that a sharp division must be drawn between those âcquaintances of the poet who were his superiors in station, and those who were his equals, between his patrons and his friends, between his fautores and his sodales. And it is the want of dis- ' criminating with sufficient exactness between these two classes that has led to many random and false identifications. There is a marked difference in tone between the language with which Ovid approaches his patrons, who had held the highest offices ' It is clear from l. I 2 that Perilla wrote in Greek ; and she was not, as some have supposed (see above, p. xvii), the poet's daughter, for she is described as young and living still under her mother's roof, ll. 3 and 33 ff. whereas at the time of his exile, Ovid's daughter was already married to her second husband. * See Graeber, ii. 7.
and belonged to the highest nobility of Rome, whose * majestic names'' fill him with awe, from that with which he speaks to his friends, whether his poet comrades, or the associates of his pleasures in happier days. He writes to patrons in a vein of humble supplication, praying them to use their influence with the Emperor to procure the commutation of his sentence; but to equals in the language of ordinary affectionate familiarity. By the help of the knowledge acquired from the Pontic Epistles we can discriminate clearly what individuals constitute these two categories. (i) The patrons—social superiors of Ovid. Of these there are seven in all, amongst whom as foremost and o'dest must be reckoned (1) M. Valerius Messalla Corvinus; though none of the Tristia and Pontic Epistles is addressed to him. Messalla, a contemporary of Horace and the younger Cicero, was born about 689/65. In the civil wars he joined Brutus and Cassius, and was legatus to Cassius at the battle of Philippi, after which he followed the fortunes of Antony, until, disgusted with his conduct in Egypt, he joined Octavian, by whom he was made consul 723/31, and commanded the centre of the fleet at the battle of Actium. Three years after he quelled a rebellion in Aquitania; and was then sent to the east to establish peace in Cilicia, Syria, and Egypt. In 726/28 he returned ; and celebrated a triumph over the Aquitani, Sept. 25, 727/27*. He was the first * praefectus urbis*; but held that office for a few days only. In 752/2 he proposed in the senate that Augustus should have the title of * pater patriae.' After ceasing to be * praefectus urbis' he abandoned politics, and devoted himself to the bar, where he became the principal advocate of his day, and received the appellation of the Orator. Like Maecenas, he was a liberal patron «of learning; and his house was open to the poets Tibullus and Ovid amongst many others. Ovid speaks of him with the greatest veneration * as * primo mihi cultus ab aevo °; and testifies to the encouragement that Messalla gave him in the pursuit
* * nomina magna,' T. iii. 4. 4.
* Graeber, i. xvi; Dissen's Tibullus, pp. xvii-xx. * Tac. A. vi. 1 1.
* Writing to the son of Messalla, he describes himself as * ille domus vestrae primis venerator ab annis.' P. ii. 2. 1. ° P. ii. 2. 99.