This paper examines an intertextual reference to Ovid’s Ars Amatoria (3.101ff.) in the first word, ordior, of the Punica of Silius Italicus, and argues that Silius deploys this allusion to reclaim the didactic persona for a traditionalist moral narrative of Rome. Ovid’s passage concedes a fundamental change in Roman morals after the Punic Wars but, radically, proclaims a preference for the mores of his own time. Silius, with this allusive ordior, appropriates the didactic persona of the Ovidian interlocutor to reaffirm the traditional narrative. The ordior also connects the poem to Livy’s preface, which twice uses the verb while discussing how to begin a monumental work. The ‘window-reference’ allusion shows that Silius combines Ovidian poetics with a Livian perspective on Rome’s moral history.