Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love); Elegies (Poems)

Date: 8 C.E. 1497 1599

Region: Europe

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion Religious

Medium: Literature

Artist: Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso) (43 BCE - 18 CE)

Confronting Bodies: Emperor Augustus, Savonarola, Archbishop of Canterbury

Dates of Action: 8 C.E., 1497, 1599

Location: Italy, Rome and Florence; England.

Description of Artwork: Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love) c. 1 B.C.E.: Brilliant treatise on the art of seduction and intrigue. The message was subversive of the official program of moral reforms then being fostered by Caesar August. It also included a number of references in their contexts both flippant and tactless to symbols of August's personal prestige. Elegies (Poems).

The Incident: 8 C.E. Rome : The Emperor Augustus banished Ovid for writing Ars Amatoria and for an unknown act of folly. 1497 Florence : The Works of Ovid were cast with those of Dante and his friend Propertius, into the great bonfire of Savonarola, as erotic, impious, and tending to corrupt. 1599 The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London ordered the burning of, among other works, Christopher Marlowe's translation of Ovid's Elegies and Sir John Davies Epigrammes, which satirizes contemporary authorities - apparently less because of their content than because of the work with which they were bound.

Results of Incident: 8 CE Ovid was sent to the Greek town of Tomi, near the mouth of the Danube, where he died in exile eight years later.

Source: Banned Books 387 BC to 1978 AD, by Anne Lyon Haight, and Chandler B. Grannis, R.R. Bowker Co, 1978.