- Ovid, Rhetoric, and Freedom of Speech in the Augustan Age
The impetus for this volume was a conference on Ovid’s exile poetry held at Baylor University in February of 2019. That conference sprung to life in a conversation between Eleonora Tola and Alden Smith at the Université Blaise Pascal in Clermont-Ferrand in 2017, during a symposium on Ovid sponsored by Hélène Vial. When Smith returned to Texas, he discussed the possibilities with me, and we decided to put some ideas on paper. Having chosen the topic, Smith approached a group of distinguished scholars with the proposal, which received favorable responses. We settled on the title “Ovid, Rhetoric, and Freedom of Speech in the Late Augustan Age: A Symposium on the Poet Ovid and his Milieu”—a truncated version of which serves as this volume’s title.
The scholars who presented at the colloquium are among the best in the field. Carole Newlands has made outstanding contributions to Ovidian scholarship: from her studies on the Fasti to her overview of the Ovidian corpus. Her piece in this volume sheds light on Ovid’s poetic engagement with Virgil through the character of Aesacus. Alessandra Romeo’s rich work on Ovid’s Metamorphoses is well known. Her paper here focuses on Ovid’s adaptation of earlier versions of the myth of Cephalus. Eleonora Tola’s 2004 monograph (La métamorphose poétique chez Ovide: Tristes et Pontiques) offers a groundbreaking look at Ovidian intratextuality. In this volume, she investigates Ovid’s use of persuasive speech in Tristia 2. Alden Smith, who has spent most of his career writing on Virgil, wrote his first book on Ovid and has produced a number of articles on our poet, with the majority of them of late focusing on Ovid’s exile poetry. His paper concerns Ovid’s use of allusion and other rhetorical techniques in his letter addressed to Paullus Maximus (ex Ponto 1.2). Hélène Vial’s work on Ovid’s [End Page 133] exile poetry, particularly the Ibis, is widely recognized. Here she addresses the issue of free speech and Ovid’s strategy of leaving those he would reproach unnamed. Laurent Pernot, who gave the conference’s keynote address, is a major figure in ancient rhetorical studies. We are particularly grateful to Professor Pernot for urging us to assemble revised versions of the conference papers for this publication and his assistance in its preparation. His paper considers the role of figured speech as a formative element in Roman education and leads to insights about Ovid’s understanding of rhetoric. Julia Hejduk, whose The God of Rome (2020), treats Jupiter in Augustan literature, has published widely on both Virgil and Ovid. A former president of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, Professor Hejduk is acutely aware of our profession’s political and social challenges, which she addresses head-on in her important contribution that considers Donna Zuckerberg’s recent book Not All Dead White Men: Classics and Misogyny in the Digital Age. Finally, Karl Galinsky’s name has been synonymous with Ovidian studies ever since the publication of his 1975 monograph: Ovid’s Metamorphoses: An Introduction to the Basic Aspects. We are deeply grateful to Professor Galinsky for offering his rich response to the papers that make up this collection. His thoughtful consideration of the variety of ideas presented in this volume includes indispensable observations on how they fit within their early imperial context; his synthesis provides a most fitting conclusion.
The conference that inspired this volume could not have happened without the support of many colleagues at Baylor University. I would like to thank Ken Jones, the chair of Classics at Baylor, as well as all of my colleagues in the department for their many contributions to its success. I would like also to express my appreciation to Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences, as well as the Armstrong Browning Library, which generously accommodated the Ovid conference. I am delighted to have had a small role in presenting here the intellectual fruits of a gathering of such outstanding Ovidian scholars. [End Page 134]