Open Access Senior Thesis
© 2014 Tara N. Godzich
Augustan propaganda surrounding Apollo provided the perfect literary device through which Augustan poets could express their sentiments about the new regime. Augustus transformed Apollo from a relatively insignificant god in the Roman pantheon to his own multi-faceted god whose various attributes were meant to legitimize his new position within the Roman Empire. In this thesis I discuss how Ovid uses Augustus’ political affiliation with Apollo to comment on Augustan marriage legislation in two of his texts. In Ovid’s manual on seduction, the Ars Amatoria, he denies poetic inspiration from Apollo at the beginning of his work, preferring instead to draw from his own experiences. However, Ovid seemingly contradicts himself by having Apollo appear later on to offer him advice. In his Metamorphoses, Ovid ridicules Apollo’s failed pursuit of Daphne. However, Apollo is seemingly victorious after all, since he uses Daphne’s laurel as his perpetual victory symbol. In both these instances, Ovid veils his political commentary by initially ridiculing Apollo in matters of love, only to seemingly glorify him shortly after. By excluding Apollo from matters of love, Ovid indirectly is disapproving of Augustus’ involvement in social affairs in Rome. Ovid proves to be a master of language yet again as he plays with the literary tradition and political implication of Apollo in these two texts to convey his discontent regarding Augustan marriage legislation.
Godzich, Tara N., "Politicizing Apollo: Ovid's Commentary on Augustan Marriage Legislation in the Ars Amatoria and the Metamorphoses" (2014). Scripps Senior Theses. 466.