The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Othryoneus – Otrera – Otreus – Otus – Otys – Ovi a

68

OVIDIUS.

tured group representing Perilaus, an Argive, son of Alcenor, as slaying Othryades; and the story of his suicide, as given by Herodotus, is also contradicted by the account in Suidas, where we find (adopting the amended reading) that, being wounded, he lay among the dead, unnoticed by Al­ cenor and Chromius, and that, on their departure from the field, he raised a trophy, traced on it an inscription with his blood, and died (Herod, i. 82 ; Thuc. v. 41 ; Suid. s. v. 'OOpvaS-ns ; Luc. Contempt, ad fin.; Hemst. ad loc.; Pseudo-Simon. ap. Anth. i. p. 63, ed. Jacobs; Dioscor. ibid. i. p. 247; Nicand. ibid. ii. p. 2 ; Chaerem. ibid. ii. p. 56 ; Thes. ap. Stob. vii. p. 92 ; Ov. Fast. ii. 663.) [E.E.]

OTHRYONEUS (9O8pvovcts), an ally of king Priam, from Cabesos, who sued for the hand of Cassandra, and promised in return to drive the Greeks from Troy, but was slain by Idomeneus. (Horn. //. xiii. 363, &c. 772.) [L. S.]

OTRERA ("Orpiipd), a daughter or wife of Ares, who is said to have built the temple of Artemis at Ephesus. (Hygin. Fab. 225 ; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. i. 1033.) [L. S.J

OTREUS ('Orpeu's), a king of Phrygia, whom Priam assisted against the Amazons. (Horn. //. iii. 186, Hymn, in Yen. 111.) [L. S.]

OTUS (''nTos), a son of Poseidon, and Iphi- medeia, was one of the Aloeidae. (Horn. II. v. 385, Od. xi. 305 ; Pind. Pyili. iv. 89 ; Apollod. i. 7. § 4 ; comp. aloeidae.) [L. S.]

OTYS. [cotys.]

OVI A, the wife of C. Lollius, with whom Cicero had some pecuniary transactions in b. c. 45. It appears that Cicero had purchased an estate of her, and owed her some money. (Cic. ad Ait. xiL 21, 24, 30, xiii. 22.)

P. OVI'DIUS NASO was born at Sulmo, a town aboiit ninety miles from Rome, in the country of the Peligni. He marks the exact date of his birth in his Tristia (iv* 10. 5, &c.) ; from which it appears that the year was that in which the two consuls, Hirtius and Pansa, fell in the campaign of Mutina, and the day, the first of the festival of the Quinquatria, on which gladiatorial combats were exhibited. This means that he was born on the 13th Kal. April, A. u. c. 711, or the 20th March, b. c. 43. He was descended from an ancient equestrian family (Trist. iv. 10. 7), but possessing only moderate wealth. He, as well ^as his brother Lucius, who was exactly a year older than himself, was destined to be a pleader, and received a careful education to qualify him for that calling. After acquiring the usual rudiments of knowledge, he studied rhetoric under Arellius Fuscus and Porcms Latro, and attained to consi­derable proficiency in the art of declamation. But the bent of his genius showed itself very early. The hours which should have been spent in the study of jurisprudence were employed in cultivating his poetical talent ; and when he sat down to write a speech he produced a poem instead. (Trist. iv. 10. 24.) The elder Seneca, too, who had heard him declaim, and who has preserved a portion of one of his rhetorical compositions, tells us that his oratory resembled a solutum carmen, and that any thing in the way of argument was irksome to him. (Controv. ii. 10.) His father, an economical, pains­taking man, denounced his favourite pursuit as leading to inevitable poverty ; but, though Ovid listened to this advice, all his attempts to master

OVIDIUS.

the ruling passion proved fruitless. The death of his brother, at the early age of twenty, probably served in some degree to mitigate his father's opposition, for the patrimony which would have been scanty for two might amply suffice for one. Ovid's education was completed at Athens, where he made himself thoroughly master of the Greek language. Afterwards he travelled with the poet Macer, in Asia and Sicily ; in which latter country he appears to have spent the greater part of a year. It is a disputed point whether he ever actually practised as an advocate after his return to Rome. Bayle asserts the affirmative from Tristia, ii. 93. But that verse seems rather to refer to the functions of a judge than of a counsel. The picture Ovid himself draws of his weak constitution and indolent temper prevents us from thinking that he ever followed his profession with ardour and perseverance, if indeed at all; and the latter conclusion seems justified by a passage in the Amores, i. 15. 6. The same causes deterred him from entering the senate, though he had put on the lotus clavus when he assumed the toga virilis, as being by birth entitled to aspire to the sena­torial dignity. (Trist. iv. 10. 29.) He became, however, one of the Triumviri Capitales, a sort of magistrates somewhat akin to our sheriffs, whose office it was to decide petty causes between slaves and persons of inferior rank, and to superintend the prisons, and the execution of criminals. Sub­sequently he was made one of the Centumviri, or judges who tried testamentary and even criminal causes. In due time he was promoted to be one of . the Decemviri, who assembled and presided over the court of the Centumviri ; an office which en­titled him to a seat in the theatre distinguished above that of the other Equites (Fasti, iv. 383).

Such is all the account that can be given of Ovid's business life. As in the case of other writers, however, we are more interested to know the circumstances which fostered and developed his poetical genius, than whether he was a sound lawyer and able judge. Ovid appears to have shown at an early age a marked inclination to­wards gallantry. It was probably some symptoms of this temperament that induced his parents to provide him with a wife when he was yet a mere boy. The choice, however, was a bad one. She was quite unsuitable to him, and apparently not unimpeachable in character ; so that the union was but of short duration. The facility of divorce which then prevailed at Rome rendered the nature of such engagements very different from the so­lemn one which they possess in modern days. A second wife was soon wedded, and as speedily dis­missed, though Ovid himself bears witness to her purity. The secret of this matrimonial fickleness is explained by the fact that Ovid had a mistress. Filial duty dictated his marriages ; inclination threw him into the arms of Corinna. This cause may even have been divided with another. Ovid was a poet, and to a poet in those dajrs a mistress was indispensable. What Roman of the Augustan age would have ventured to inscribe an elegy to his wife! The thing was utterly impossible. But elegiac poetry was then all the vogue at Rome, from its comparative novelty. Catullus, who intro­duced it from the Greek, had left a few rude speci­mens ; but Gallus and Tibullus were the first who brought it to any perfection, and appropriated it more exclusively to the theme of licentious love,

Pages
About | First

66

67

68
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.