- Mini Bio
- Name: Publius Ovidius Naso
- Born: 20th March 43 BC, Sulmo, Italy, Roman Republic
- Died: AD 17, Tomis, Scythia Minor, Roman Empire
- Alma mater: Academy in Athens and Rome
- Occupation: Poet
- Poetic genre: Elegy, epic and drama
- Notable works: Amores, Ars Amatoria, Heroides and Metamorphoses
- Inspired: Alexander Pushkin, Arthur Golding, Christopher Marlowe, Dante Alighieri, Geoffrey Chaucer, James Joyce, Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, John Dryden, John Milton and William Shakespeare
- Trivia: In 2017 Rome city council took the unprecedented step of officially revoking his banishment to Tomis, in a motion tabled to posthumously pardon the poet it was unanimously passed decreeing his innocence as an artist who had rights to express himself as his literature saw fit
"Everything comes gradually and at its appointed hour"Ovid
"Our integrity is never worth so much as when we have parted with our all to keep it"Ovid
"There is nothing constant in the universe. All ebb and flow, and every shape that's born, bears in its womb the seeds of change"Ovid
"Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all"Ovid
"Love is no assignment for cowards"Ovid
"Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence"Ovid
"Occupy yourself, and you will be out of harm's way"Ovid
"Habits change into character"Ovid
"Make the workmanship surpass the materials"Ovid
"Love will enter cloaked in friendship's name"Ovid
"Fortune and love favour the brave"Ovid
"Anyone can be rich in promises"Ovid
"Misfortunes often sharpen the genius"Ovid
"The mind, conscious of rectitude, laughed to scorn the falsehood of report"Ovid
"They come to see; they come that they themselves may be seen"Ovid
"Either don't try at all or make damned sure you succeed"Ovid
"Love is a thing full of anxious fears"Ovid
"We're slow to believe what wounds us"Ovid
"Nothing is stronger than habit"Ovid
"Seize Time; his swift foot can't be held"Ovid
"Time, the devourer of all things"Ovid
"Plenty has made me poor"Ovid
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Ovid was the Roman poet whose verse lit up the latter part of the golden age of Latin literature with his masterpiece "The Metamorphoses" still cited as an important ancient mythological story of the creation of the world.
He came from a successful family who sent him to the Academy for his education and he was expected to take up a high position in public office. Ovid had other ideas and spent some time travelling before deciding he wanted to dedicate his life to poetry.
Latin literature was enjoying a golden age and using Virgil and Horace as inspiration he started publicly orating his works and later publishing them. His poetry was very "love" centric that often played on erotic themes and it proved very popular to the chattering classes of Roman society.
Ovid was the darling of multiple Roman social hierarchies and it would seem he could do no wrong as his literary success stood him in good stead. However there was trouble brewing for the celebrated poet and in the year 8CE the emperor Augustus banished Ovid to exile to the town of Tomis on the outskirts of the empire in deepest darkest Romania.
Ovid was stricken with grief and he was to spend the remaining years of his life in this desolate spot and he was quoted as describing the natives as:
"frightening barbarians". Through letters and appeals he tried to get his exile over turned and in one of his final works "Tristia" he alluded to why he was banished by saying:
"Two offences, a poem and a mistake, have destroyed me".
It was not clear which was the poem that upset Augustus but his mistake could have been anything from an illicit affair with a Roman elite or being privy to a collaborative political plot and not informing the emperor. As one of the greatest ancient poets he was good for a one liner so this is my compilation of 22 of the best Ovid quotes
Quotes About Ovid
The Bard of Avon William Shakespeare recognised his talent as he said:
"Here are only numbers ratified; but, for the elegancy, facility, and golden cadence of poesy, caret. Ovidius Naso was the man: and why, indeed, Naso, but for smelling out the odoriferous flowers of fancy, the jerks of invention?"
The French philosopher Michel Eyquem de Montaigne was inspired to say:
"The first taste I had for books came to me from my pleasure in the fables of the Metamorphoses of Ovid"
The Italian politician Luca Bergamo described him as:
"One of the greatest poets in the history of humanity"