restricted access Crippling Nostalgia: Nostos, Poetics, and the Structure of the Ibis*


This paper examines the structure of the catalogue in Ovid’s Ibis. In the catalogue’s first half, Ovid highlights the important exilic themes of exile, nostos, and meter through repeating markers located at significant points, specifically a quarter of the way through and at the catalogue’s center (identified by a couplet that forms a ring-composition with the catalogue’s opening). In the catalogue’s second half, Ovid emphasizes poets and poetry, divine punishment, dismemberment, and the consumption of one’s own flesh and blood—again, recurrent themes in the exile poetry. Throughout, metapoetic language suggests both elegy and iambus, appropriately for the poem’s genre-crisis.