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Ars Amatoria Book I School Project

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Matt Boling

on 20 March 2014

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Transcript of Ars Amatoria Book I School Project

Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love): Book I
Notes and Information

Before we start...
Let's Dive into this Monster! (Summary of Book I)
Ovid first opens up this poem by proclaiming that love is a tricky art, but he is the master at it; he also asks the gods for help and inspiration.
He opens up by saying that you should first find someone you are interested in; The next task is to make sure she loves you back; and if these requirements are met, then you will live "happily ever after."
He then explains how to find the one that suits you best; he explains that this task is rather difficult, and you have to find the perfect person. You have to find someone that matches with your personality and your humor, and although this task is extremely hard, it is not impossible. He explains that there are tons and tons of women in Rome, so never give up.
Summary of Book I (continued)
Ovid also explains that the streets aren't the only place worth searching; he also recommends searching at the theater, for women will most likely be happy from the theater itself, putting their minds in a more positive mood and more likely to accept your invitation of love.
Another place Ovid recommends are the races or circuses; he explains, to the reader, that you should just start by sitting next to the person of interest, and start up with some casual talk about any random topic; he also recommends to be aware of your surroundings "lest" you upset a potential boyfriend.
Summary of Book I
(continued some more)

Ovid also recommends triumphs are a great place to search; if a young woman is unsure to some details of that particular triumph, you can answer that question, create small talk, introduce yourself, etc. etc.
There are two more places that Ovid recommends: The dinner table and the beaches. If it is at all possible at the dinner table to meet with your potentially loved one, the joy and merriment would create a wonderful opportunity to start talk, etc. etc., and the positive attitude and beauty of the beaches would make a suitable place for introductions.
I just wanted to say that the background of this particular Prezi, as strange as it is, is awesome, and has nothing to do with Ovid. However, it is so epic, it doesn't even matter. That is all.
I guess Prezi really likes Spongebob...

What is Book I of the Ars Amatoria?
Book I of the Ars Amatoria is a 500 line poem and guide that tells you how to quote on quote "pick up women" in Rome.
It was written by Ovid ( You don't say?), and the Ars Amatoria, as a whole, is composed of three separate books, each consisting of their own unique topic about love.
This particular poem (it is more of an epic than of poem if you ask me), although it's subject matter is relatively hilarious considering the fact that this was written about 2000 years ago, contains several references to mythology and several references to that of other poems. There are also a lot of metaphors and similes that are used.
The remains of an ancient theater in Rome.
Book I Summary
(continued...HOW MUCH MORE?!?!?!?!?!)
Ovid then explains how to win her over; he explains that confidence is vital to win over women, and try to show them subconsciously that you have wealth.
Another thing Ovid highly recommends to do is "secure" her maid; you must leave a great impression on her maid in order to be successful, as the maid has a close relationship to a woman, and that the winning over of the maid can in turn win over the girl.
One more piece of advice that Ovid hands out: NEVER FORGET HER BIRTHDAY! Always take her somewhere special for her birthday, and you should get her a cake and presents.
Book 1 Summary
Ovid also advises the reader to make promises and write to her often.
Ovid also recommends that you be close to her often in order to win her over, as it shows that you have a deep interest in her.
Another thing that is required is that you always look proper around her and presentable, and that you are always bold around the dinner table.
Ovid, finally recommends that you take the lead in a relationship, although not to an extreme degree. Don't become her slave. He also advices you to be bold at the dinner table, and to be weary of friends who may be filled with jealousy. Finally, he advises flexibility in a relationship.
Book I: Analysis
OK...here it is...my nightmare...the analysis and thoughts of all 800 lines....yay
By the way, there are so many references to this poem, that in my opinion, this poem would be just 200 lines long if all of the references were removed. Because of this excessive amount of references, it will be impossible to list all of them, so I will go over the ones that are interesting and somewhat relatable.
I cannot be certain, but considering the age of this poem, I think it might be possible that the saying of "there are plenty of fish in the sea" can be traced back to this particular poem; At several points in the poem itself, especially near the beginning, Ovid compares fishermen to that of us men and compares the fish in the sea to that of women. For example, if you look around line 47 or 48, you can see this comparison; "the fisherman knows the waters where the most fish spawn." It is a little unorthodox to put this before the beginning of the poem, but this is the first analysis point that came to my mind.
Book I: Analysis (continued)
Before this poem begins in terms of its material and message, Ovid includes great references to the gods; Not only does he ask for the gods' help and guidance for his poem, he also compares himself to that of Cupid; Ovid proclaims that although Cupid is powerful in determining love, Ovid will prevail; personally, the way that this is introduced, I think that this really shows the superstition of the people during this time period. A lot of other poets tend to ask the gods for help before there poems began as well.
One thing that I should've pointed out before is that this particular poem contains a huge, HUGE amount of references to other poems, events, and mythology. Aside from the reference in that of the fifth line (it is up to interpretation if this line indeed refers to that of Achilles), already in the 11th line of this poem, out of 800 lines, we can clearly see that there is a reference to that of Achilles; who was a Greek hero who was put to a centaur to be educated. It also references to that of Hector's death, both of which I believe in are the Homer's Iliads. In fact, there are a lot of references to that of the Trojan War; especially that of Achilles.
Book I Analysis: Continued
In line 27-28 of the English, here is another reference. It is not only a reference to that of the muses, but to that of a Greek poet. This Clio is the muse of history, and she is a daughter of Zeus (big shocker) and the Titaness Mnemosyne. Along with her sisters, she was considered to dwell either in Mount Helicon or Mount Parnassos. Ascra is the hometown of a famous Greek poet known as Hesiod, who is equally famous as that of Homer. It can be inferred that in one of his poems he lists how he visually saw this specific muse.
In line 30 of the English, we see clearly that Ovid invokes the help of Venus. Although previously mentioned, it is worth noting that a possible parallel can be drawn, as in the second line of the first book of Lucretius, he does the exact same, so this could be alluding to that.
Book I: Analysis (continued)
One thing that I find interesting about this particular poem is that Ovid warns his fellow readers to not follow the advice of this reading if you are modest (Far away from here, you badges of modesty,), and I think it is pretty interesting to compare it to of today, as many religions of today's day and age see it not proper to use these tactics for self pleasure.
After part III, there is an interesting thing. There is a reference to a "portico." A portico is a walkway leading to the entrance of a building, or extended as a colonnade, with a roof structure over a walkway, supported by columns and sometimes enclosed by walls. Apparently in Pompeii and in other Roman cities, there were porticoes specifically for walking and leisure, so this is what Ovid is alluding to.
Book I: Analysis (continued)
The line close to the previous (And don’t forget the shrine of Adonis, Venus wept for,), has some historical Roman significance. This was a ritual that honored Venus and when Romans mourned the death of Adonis, also called Tammuz. Many acts that, let's just say, weren't very Christian, were committed here. The Biblical prophet Ezekiel (no, the Ezekiel of the Hindu religion) actually referenced this particular practice: "Then He brought me to the entrance of the gate of the Lord’s house which was toward the north; and behold, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz." (Ezekial 8:14)
Immediately after this line, there is a reference, for the first time in our Latin career, the Jewish people. And it is probably the strangest Jewish reference we will ever see. Ovid says that the Sabbath rituals are a nice place to pick up ladies, which is odd. However, according to sources, during this time period, many Jewish people were migrating into Rome, bringing their religion with them, especially during this time period, which Jesus Christ was just beginning his ministry. My guess is that many people spectated these Jewish rituals out of curiosity, to the point that it was common place. This is why I think Ovid says this is a nice place to be.
Book I Analysis (continued)
Halfway through part IV, there seems to be a reference to an event of Roman infamy, about how a king sent his soldiers to violate women. Ovid uses this comparison to the Roman leader for the everyday Roman leader; this seemed to be intentionally designed for the Roman people; I don't think Ovid would've known that 2000 years down the road, people would be reading his work.
Near the beginning of part V, there seems to be some hand signals and gestures that mean things; such as the nod of the head meaning she accepted. Quite honestly, I think this is also kind of stretching it, but it is entirely possible why in our American culture, and possibly some other European cultures, that the nod of a head means yes. It is entirely possible that this gesture may have come from Ancient Rome and we continue to do it to this day.
Book 1: Analysis
(continued, I decided to use purple to change it up.)
Near the end of part V, there seems to be a reference to a Naval battle that Augustus Caesar was involved in. I believe that these Naval battle of Actium. These naval battles took place on the Tiger, and Tacitus, in his twelfth book, makes reference of this particular battle.
At the very beginning of part 6, Ovid seems to reference the war of Parthia, in which Augustus takes back the military ensigns that were stolen from the Roman people when Crassus was defeated; This happened after Augustus ended his war with Spain, and this is what that intro is referencing.
Book I: Analysis (continued)
Before Part VIII, there is a reference for this line: "Paris saw the goddesses in the light, a cloudless heaven,when he said to Venus: ‘Venus, you win, over them both.’" I believe that this is another reference to the Trojan War; This is that famous even that started the Trojan War when there was an apple that said "For the Fairest." Paris was the name of the shepherd that judged the beauty of the goddesses, and he proclaimed that Venus was the fairest. However, let us just say that Paris didn't judge the goddesses on looks alone-there were other parts of this evaluation, which I will not get into, as this is a Catholic school. This is why Ovid refers to this judgement "in the light."
Book I: Analysis
Halfway through part XI, you will notice the line "It’s fine to start on that day of tears when the Allia flowed with the blood poured from Roman wounds;" this is a reference to an unfortunate and infamous event in Roman history; on the 15th of the calends of August, in the year of the city 363, the Roman army was absolutely demolished and destroyed by the Gauls. Big shocker, right?
Now, we are going to enter a little bit into Roman culture. In the middle of the "Be Bold at Dinner" part, you will notice the line of "Some sing ‘O Hymenaeus’, some ‘Bacchus, euhoe!’ So on the sacred bed the god and his bride meet", and this is a reference to Roman culture that we, contemporary Americans, probably not understand. It was an ancient custom to sing hymns of joy at weddings; in which hymns were called epithalamius. Some might call these hymns "hymeneans", after the tale of an Athenian named Hymen, who delivered maids from a terrible trouble, or which they used to invoke him when they married, as the god who eased them of the burden of their maidenheads.
Book I: Analysis (continued)
If you also look near the middle of "At Dinner Be Bold", you will find the line of "Eurytion the Centaur died, made foolish by the wine: food and drink are fitter for sweet jests." This is another reference to a mythological story; Eurytion was one of the centaurs at Pirithous's, the king of the Lapiths (who were a people who lived in the valley of Peneus in Thessaly, which is in Greece), wedding, who got so drunk that he attempted to ravish Hippodamia, the bride; but Theseus knocked him down with a bowl, and made him bring up his wine again while bleeding.
OK, Now what I was supposed to do:
Ars Amatoria I. 229-252
Well, I was supposed to do something...much...smaller.......
To start off, I would like to say that this particular sections a junk-load of Perfect Passive Participles; for example, if you look at the first line, you will see "positis", (which means "to lay, to set down" comes from pono), which is in the PPP form. There is also the same word which is in the same exact PPP form (just a different case), two lines down.
Because of these two words being the same exact word and being in the same PPP construction, I believe we have an instance of a parallel construction between the first line and the third line.
UGH...Continued (Latin "Analysis")
If you look at the second line, you will notice "aliquid." However, considering that it is so common, you would expect the "ali" to "take a a holiday", however, since there is no si, nisi, num or ne, ali doesn't go away, and you would translate it as if it is present, as it is present.
Another thing you will notice is that if you look at the Latin, the word "spargo" (it appears in the form of "sparsere" [3rd pl perf ind act] and in the form of "spargi" [pres pass inf]), appears twice in two separate lines. You can compare this parallel to that of "pono", I feel as this is a recurring theme to use the same words again and again. I'm sure there are other words that follow this pattern as well.
Latin Analysis
Another interesting thing about spargi-it is a present passive infinitive; Although nothing too special, we are used to seeing PAP's and PPP's and other things; In literature this complex, it isn't too often we see something as basic as this.
An interesting word that I've come across, if you look at line 238, is mero, which pretty much means "wine without water." I have no reason why Ovid would've used this unfamiliar word when he simply could've used "vina", as it would fit the meter just as well. My only guess is that he used this particular word to emphasize the amount of alcohol the people are drinking.
Latin Analysis (Going Purple to Change it up...again)
In the second line ("Est aliquid praeter vina, quod inde petas."), I think there may be a possibility of Zeugma; When Ovid says that there is something more than wine there, I think that Ovid is using in two senses the fact that not only can you grab I drink, but you can grab a girlfriend. However, as I am unsure whether this is true or not, I think there is a strong possibility.
I believe that in line 236 ("Sed tamen et spargi pectus amore nocet."), we have a metaphor, as love, a figurative emotion, does not literally cause pain to the heart. One thing that I have to wonder is that Mr. Knittel stated that, for the most part, the Romans often thought emotions were associated with the brain; could this be one of the first instances in which love was associated with the heart?
Latin Analysis (Monotony, thy name is Ars Amatoria Book 1)
In line 238 ("Cura fugit multo diluiturque mero."), I believe that we have an instance of personification, as cure cannot literally flee.
For lines 239-241 (Tunc veniunt risus, tum pauper cornua sumit, Tum dolor et curae rugaque frontis abit.Tunc aperit mentes aevo rarissima nostro), one could make a strong argument for tricolon crescens, as these three lines begin with a form of "tum", and, in my humble opinion, I believe that all three lines increase in their meaning and significance.
For lines 241-242, I know for a fact that we have an instance of enjambment, as the line isn't self contained and it runs over the next line (Then what’s rarest in our age appears to our minds, Simplicity: an art dispelled by the god.)
You know what continued...
In lines 245 and 246 (Hic tu fallaci nimium ne crede lucernae: Iudicio formae noxque merumque nocent.), I truly think that we have two instances of personification, as one does not simply literally trust the lamplight, and I don't think that night and wine can literally harm you; however, what I believe that Ovid is saying and communicating that you basically should not get carried away with craziness and alcohol.
I also believe that with all of these references to Venus that are in these lines, I truly believe that we have several instances of metonymy, as Venus represents the desire and passion of these men (Line 244 and 248)
Okay, Okay, this doesn't really have anything to do with the Latin, but line 250 is hilarious ("Horaque formosam quamlibet illa facit.," which translates to "and the hour makes whichever girl you like beautiful."), and I find it funny, as this particular truth seems topop up in media to this very day in the form of a joke, and, I know I've said this one million times and I'm pretty much repeating what Mr. Knittel has said over and over again, but I truly find it funny that this poem (or epic) was written around 2000 years ago, and it makes joke of getting drunk and seeing people differently.
English Meaning and References
WE'RE ALMOST DONE!!!! But, even if it is very unorthodox as this is out of order, I believe we should go over the English in terms of meaning and in reference.
Before we go over this again, I think it is worth mentioning this: isn't it truly remarkable the amount of references and poetic metaphors that are used here? It is totally insane!
Here, Ovid pretty much gives advice that a social feast or event is a great place to go, but gives of a warning to not pick up women while drunk, as "Venus" is a total jerk when it comes to this; While drunk, images of women will pretty much be astray and messed up, so Ovid pretty much recommends that when you pick up a girl, make sure that you can see her true figure and form in a sober light; if drunk, pay attention to the clothes and jewelry that is worn by women.
The major reference that is made here and that is previously mentioned is that of the judgement before the Trojan War, with Paris judging the goddesses.
One thing that must be understood is that "Bracchus" is the Roman name for "Dionysus", who, if you remember from our Sophmore English class, is the god of wine. Ovid states here that he and Venus play a role in terms of drunkenness and love.
Thank you so much for sticking through this, and I hope, that as monotonous as this presentation is, I hope that at the very least that this was informative. So once again, thank you.
Full transcript