Translator: Yun-gi Lee
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About This Book
Publius Ovidius Naso, whom we know as Ovid, was already established as a writer
when The Metamorphoses was published in A.D. 8, when he was 52 years old. It had
taken him a decade to compose his great poem, during which time he published
little, but the Roman world was still abuzz with excitement over his richly
erotic Art of Love. So, unfortunately, was the court of Augustus Caesar, and the
emperor banished the poet to what is now Romania. Augustus may have taken
exception to the poet's turn to the impolite realm of the body--or he may have
objected to a rumored affair between Ovid and the emperor's nymphomaniacal
daughter Julia, who figures so prominently in Robert Graves's Claudius novels.
The poet who had declared Rome to be his only home could have found no worse
punishment than exile, but no amount of pleading could sway Augustus, and Ovid
died on the shores of the Black Sea a decade later. Full of veiled political and
historical references, The Metamorphoses lived on to become a permanent fixture
in the canon of European literature.
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