chapter  6
Ovid
ByJohn Svarlien, Diane Arnson Svarlien
Pages 44

Ovid was born into a well-to-do equestrian family on March 20, 43 b.c.e. in Sulmo, a town in the Apennines, about 90 miles from Rome. At about the time of Actium, Ovid, like others from his class, was sent to Rome for an education in rhetoric and law. To a large degree, then, he missed the century of civil wars that played such a role in the experience of our other poets, and he reached his maturity in the new, peaceful, and urbane Rome of Augustus. Ovid had begun his public recitation of verse around 25 b.c.e. at about 18 years of age. Rome was vibrant with literary activity; and Ovid said that he felt compelled to turn to poetry because, whenever he attempted a speech, it came out in verse. He became in his own lifetime the most popular and widely read Roman poet and has been popular in all generations.