Explanatory Notes
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Explanatory Notes 103 1. Introduction to Ovid’s Epistles [Heroides] The work introduced with the medieval title Ouidius epistolarum (literally , “Ovid of the Epistles”) is the Epistulae heroidum (“Epistles of the Heroines ”) or Heroides (“Heroines”). The medieval text, which survives in over two hundred manuscripts, combines two different collections of fictional love letters composed between 20 BC and AD 2 by Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BC–ca. AD 17): the first contains letters addressed by Greek mythological heroines to their absent husbands or lovers (1–14); the second, written at a later date, consists of three pairs of letters exchanged between heroes and heroines (16–21). These two collections were transmitted together from antiquity through a single codex copied in Carolingian France around 800, which did not transmit Her. 15, the Epistula Sapphus (“Epistle of Sappho”), as well as Her. 16.39–144 and 21.15–250.1 Although the Heroides were copied and housed in some libraries in the ninth and tenth centuries, the work’s readership was limited to learned circles. When Ovid entered the canon of school authors around the middle of the eleventh century, interest in the Heroides grew.2 An important witness for its pedagogical use in the late eleventh century is the handbook Eton, Eton College Library, MS 150: this elementary reader, which was copied in the Benedictine abbey of Monte Cassino, assembles a set of school texts including the so-called Ecloga Theoduli (see Acc. 10); the elegies of Maximianus (see Acc. 7); Statius’s Achilleid; Ovid’s Remedia amoris (see Acc. 15) and Heroides 1–7.159; and a fragment of Arator’s Historia apostolica (see Acc. 11).3 Around the same time, the Heroides also appeared under the title Ouidius in epistolis (“Ovid in Epistles”) along with other elegiac works by Ovid in the list of a private library that a certain Brother Hugo bequeathed to the Benedictine abbey of Blaubeuren when he took orders.4 By 1100, knowledge of the Heroides was the mark of educated readers. Baudri of Bourgeuil famously imitated and rewrote Heroides 16 and 17, the double letters of Paris and Helen, in hexameters.5 Around 1175, the influential commentator Arnulf of Orléans established the heroic epistles as the first of nine works that Ovid wrote.6 The emphasis placed on the Heroides in the Accessus ad auctores evidently reflected the view that it was an introductory work to the Ovidian corpus. The first letter by Penelope set the moral example of legitimate love that was fundamental to understanding the ethical basis of Ovid’s poetry. Text of Acc. 1 The text is based on Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 19475 (T), fol. 1ra.1–21. Another version of this accessus appears at the beginning of a commentary to the Heroides in Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 5137, saec. XII/XIII, fols. 97r–102r. See Incipitarium Ovidianum, p. 73, no. 206. Editions of Acc. 1 Huygens,Accessus(1954),pp. 24–25;Przychocki,AccessusOvidiani,p. 80;Rosa, “Su alcuni commenti inediti,” p. 210; Huygens Accessus (1970), pp. 29–30. Selected Bibliography on Ovid’s Heroides Critical Edition Ovid. P. Ovidii Nasonis Epistulae Heroidum. Edited by Heinrich Dörrie. Berlin : Walter de Gruyter, 1971. Edition with Translation Ovid. Heroides and Amores. Edited and translated by Grant Showerman. 2nd ed., revised by G. P. Goold. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press 1997. Editions with Commentary Ovid. Heroides, XVI–XXI. Edited by E. J. Kenney. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. ———. Heroides: Select Epistles. Edited by Peter E. Knox. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Medieval Reception Bond, Gerald A. The Loving Subject: Desire, Eloquence, and Power in Romanesque France, pp. 61–62. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995. Dörrie, Heinrich. Der heroische Brief: Bestandaufnahme, Geschichte, Kritik einer humanistisch-barocken Literaturgattung, pp. 98–100. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1968. Hagedorn, Suzanne C. Abandoned Women: Rewriting the Classics in Dante, Boccaccio, and Chaucer, pp. 21–46 and 187–92. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004. Hexter, Ovid and Medieval Schooling, pp. 137–204. 104   Explanatory Notes Commentary on Acc. 1 Title A few words need to be said about the titles that head most of the accessus in our Tegernsee manuscript before looking at the title of the first accessus. The copyists of the Accessus ad auctores typically left room on the right side of the first line of an accessus for a rubricated title that another hand filled in with majuscule lettering and rubricated. The titles occupying their own...



Subject Headings

  • Latin literature, Medieval and modern.
  • Criticism -- History -- To 1500.
  • Classical literature -- Study and teaching -- History -- To 1500.
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