by Matthew Nelson
Faculty mentor: Dr. Angela Pitts
References to poets immortalizing themselves by writing poetry is a frequent trope of classical literature. It appeared in Greek literature thanks to the lyric poets Sappho and Theocritus and the philosopher Plato. The Greeks passed down the tradition to the Romans, where it featured in the collections written by Horace, Gallus, Tibullus, Propertius, and, eventually, Ovid. Ovid’s claim to immortality in Tristia 3.3 is an interesting poem to study, given he references his earlier claim to immortality in Amores 1.15 and Horace’s claims in Carmina 2.20 and 3.30. My paper examines his attitude in both of his poems, analyzing the connections he makes to his prior work and to Horace’s. Drawing upon this research, I argue the sequence of claims by Ovid demonstrates his lack of repentance for his exile. Rather than truly admit guilt, I believe Tristia 3.3 reveals he continues to take pride in erotic poetry – a revelation visible when the poem is placed in contrast against Amores 1.15.