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The Erotic Poems

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,689 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
This collection of Ovid's poems deals with the whole spectrum of sexual desire, ranging from deeply emotional declarations of eternal devotion to flippant arguments for promiscuity. In the "Amores", Ovid addresses himself in a series of elegies to Corinna, his beautiful, elusive mistress. The intimate and vulnerable nature of the poet revealed in these early poems vanishes ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published February 24th 1983 by Penguin Classics (first published 1)
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G.R. Reader
Nov 26, 2013 G.R. Reader rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was about seventeen, and I was sitting on my own in this movie theater watching Sommaren med Monika, and this guy sat down next to me. He leaned over and started whispering one of the dirtier bits from Amores in my ear. I slapped his face on reflex (I wasn't thinking straight, and it was so weird to switch from Swedish to Latin), and a second later I realized it was my Classics teacher, who I had a major crush on.

We both looked at each other, and then we started giggling helplessly. The other
Oct 24, 2010 Jesse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was my unfortunate circumstance to develop a passion for someone whilst reading this flawless collection, so my appreciation was perhaps tinted by quite unrelated moods. But to appraise these poems, they range from the ardent to the cynical, and Freudian psychology is practically laid out in full (seriously, did Freud not read these before writing his Interpretation of Dreams? The entire method of that book is expounded in one 16 line poem here). Ovid is at once hilarious and burning with pas ...more
Since I began these in my graduate school Ovid course, they have been my standard for poetry (along with 17C English poets), witty
and urbane--mostly in "elegiac" verse form, though far from the requiems previously in that verse form. ( Shakespeare learned
much from Ovid, from Plautus, and from Publilius Syrus.) True, Ovid was banished to the outskirts of the empire partly because of the poems here
that compare lovers and soldiers: they both stand outside all night under windows, they both are ded
Evan Leach
This book contains the Amores, The Art of Love, The Cures for Love, and the surviving fragment from the Medicamina Faciei Femineae. Basically this collection contains all of Ovid’s surviving poetry from before his exile outside of the Heroides, the Fasti, and the Metamorphoses. I loved the Heroides so I thought I’d mow through these before tackling the Metamorphoses.

I would break the four sections down individually but honestly they are all awfully similar. The Amores and the Art of Love, writt
Lady Jane
I had always wanted to read at least one of Ovid's erotic elegies and didactic poems on the art of seduction. This February, in honour of Saint Valentine's Day, I finally had the time and opportunity to obtain this charming anthology with all the LOVE-ly works of his. I opened it up and started the anthology by reading Ars Amatoria even though it was second in the sequence (preceded only by Amores) because Ars Amatoria has been on my "Books To Read Before I Die" list for quite some time.

I must
Whitney Thompson
Feb 07, 2013 Whitney Thompson rated it it was ok
I had to read this for a class. I'm giving this two stars purely because Ovid is a complete misogynist, and it shows in these poems. I can't bring myself to give this a higher rating. As fuel for an intellectual discussion... these poems are interesting, I won't lie. And I know misogyny was very much the norm for Roman civilization. However, I still can't get past his constant treatment of women as objects, as prizes to be won, as things to be conquered. (I will say, though, that Amores 1.1 is o ...more
Jan 26, 2013 Patrick rated it did not like it
Ovid really comes across as a smug, fatuous prick in these poems. I can't think of anything good to say about it, except that it does provide some background for social relations in Rome at the time.
Jan 26, 2016 Ian rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, rome


Roman Clodia
Ovid is one of my favourite poets but I do have misgivings about this translation. It's great if you're interested in reading Ovid's love poetry for pleasure, but if you're studying it at any level then it's quite far from the original text.

Green's translations are all a bit too jaunty and try-hard for me. For example, in 1.1.5 where the Latin is 'quis tibi, saeve puer, dedit hoc in carmina iuris?' Green translates this as ' "nasty young brat," I told him, "who made you Inspector of Metres?" '.
Jan 25, 2009 Jon rated it it was amazing
A delightful collection of poems. The selection assembled in this little book is proportioned nicely so that a set of poems can, if the reader fancies, be perused at one sitting--not the whole book in its entire, but its natural divisions.

The style of writing itself is not difficult to read, as some poetry can be. But Ovid is a very deliberate writer, and he inserts references to mythology and politics, now remote in time, that can be foreign to the uninitiated, and thereby let the meaning Ovid
Lente currite noctis equi - hurry slowly horses of the night.

This slim volume is your one-stop shop for the private lives of the leisured classes of early Imperial Rome, where adultery is the favourite contact sport with abortion as it's only risk. How to fall in love, how to fall out of love, contraception, go-betweens, how to behave, how to dress to make the right impression on your lover - it's all here in a collection of poems passionate and cynical by turn.

But then also at the beginning of
Mar 18, 2013 Jason rated it really liked it
It's like any great work of literature: one can read the surface text and understand it in a limited way; or one can look a bit deeper and discover the genius. On the surface of these poems -- The Amores, The Art of Love, and Cures for love -- it seems to be a well-outdated prescription for a very misogynistic way for men and women to get together in "loving" relationships. Yet, knowing (for Ovid) that love had nothing whatsoever to do with marriage, suddenly this becomes a much more radical tex ...more
I read similar compilation of Ovid works, but it was almost the same as this one, plus some poems were in Latin. It was one of the best poetry book I have ever read. The freshness breathed from each page even if it was written in Roman times. The description of the love troubles and how to catch and how to hold your beloved one. Those advices are similar to those which are now published all over the world in books and magazines, however Ovid put it in very light manner and with wit and love to t ...more
Oct 28, 2012 Rachael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this with Brian. I think he picked this book expecting it to be romantic and racy. Instead, we both spent a lot of time giggling at things that likely weren't meant to be funny and railing (not too seriously) against the ever-present misogyny and hypocrisy.

Still, it was an entertaining read.
Jul 27, 2010 Kharm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I don't think this book is erotic in the way we currently use the word "erotic." Rather, it is "erotic" in that it's contents pertain to Eros.

Still, an enjoyable look at courtship and seduction from 2000 years ago.
Jun 11, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: university-reads
I love Ovid's style of writing! Can't get enough of the cynicism and view of love as sport. Studied it twice now and with growing appreciation would be happy to read it again!
Gene Ramsey
May 25, 2013 Gene Ramsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From 2005-2006, this was my favorite book. The rhythm. The rhyme. The substance. I love this book.
May 30, 2013 MiChAeLPaUl marked it as fini
Shelves: books, poetry
From Antiquity, the all-about, how-to poetic guides to seeking and keeping love.
Jul 27, 2011 Luke added it
An extremely readable translation with excellent supplementary material.
On the facial treatment of ladies is the best title
May 28, 2013 Kat121 rated it really liked it
These are really quite lovely and bawdy and earthy.
May 19, 2010 Sara rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
Thoroughly enjoyable.
Ashley Adams
What amazes me about Ovid is how his hilariously raunchy advice regarding relationships continues to apply through the ages. Trying to get over a bad breakup? Stop spending time with your ex, burn any stuff she left hanging around, and sleep with someone else. On the other hand, if you're trying to woo a lady, take her to the theater, listen when she talks, and make physical contact in an entirely appropriate and socially acceptable way.

Often using mythology as a guide, Ovid's love poems are a l
Catherine Woodman
Jan 31, 2015 Catherine Woodman rated it really liked it
Ovid was a poet during the lengthy time that Augustus was the emperor of Rome. He was from an equestrian family in the north of Italy, but unlike Virgil, he loved Rome. He loved the plays, the music, the parties, and the people. He thrived on the city life. Unfortunately for him, he made a mistake and Augustus banished him to a distant, cold, and inhospitable place for the rest of his life. The work that he is best known by lay folk like me for was Metamorphosis, which he wrote while in exile in ...more
Oh, my, some parts of this have really not aged well! And knowing only a bit about Augustus, it’s very easy to guess why the Ars Amatoria got Ovid exiled. Its first book alone would have been enough. Not only did Ovid blatantly proclaim the debauchery of his time at a point when Augustus was big on morality and virtue, he also named places built and dedicated by the imperial family as popular locations for beginning illicit affairs. The same section of the Art of Love also contains a romanticise ...more
Jun 29, 2015 Maria rated it really liked it
Shelves: in-2015
Had this one for a class as well, so we only read The Amores and The Invention of Love, both of which I enjoyed—and on which I wrote one of my papers (A!). I really enjoyed this translation and Ovid's voice. There were funny parts, some interesting parts (a lot of our beauty regimens seem the same), a few eye rolls (what is up with the poshness of this introduction?), and some saddening parts (a lot of our social views are the same). Overall, I really enjoyed this book.
Orianna Camejo
Oct 14, 2012 Orianna Camejo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I'm starting to develop a fancy for roman poets. Ovid had always caught my attention thanks to the metamorphosis (which I haven't read yet) so, when I got to see this whole phase of him I got surprised, and delighted. He pours out of his verses and it's almost as getting to listen him verse. About the edition: the introduction made by Mr. Green gives enough background so you can develop the whole persona Ovid was. One comment, though: I'm spaniard and somehow bought this edition attracte ...more
Feb 23, 2015 Casey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Please read the translation by Peter Green. His introduction was very long-winded, but interesting and informative. I enjoyed the Amores the most of all. This is a classic and the poetry itself is lovely, but it is necessary to keep in mind while reading that this is ancient, and you must read it from a historical perspective. It provides great insight into social relations and romantic behavior in Ancient Rome, but doesn't hold up so well against modern morality and feminism.
May 21, 2015 Halton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ovid is the master.

At first I had reservations because I expected the writing to be too archaic, but the translation was brilliant.

You might cringe at some of the sexism & extreme old-school ideas that surface from time to time, but if you view it in context generally it doesn't spoil the fantastic imagery & wonderfully composed lines, mostly concerning love, life & women.

Parts like Ars Amatoria explore the magical, fulfilling aspect of love, but the best by far is Remedia Amoris (Cu
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  • The Poems
  • The Complete Odes and Epodes
  • Idylls
  • The Sixteen Satires
  • The Odes of Pindar
  • The "Eclogues" And "Georgics" (Oxford World's Classics)
  • Epigrams
  • The Satyricon and The Apocolocyntosis
  • The Comedies
  • Pharsalia: The Civil War
  • The Complete Poems
  • Menander: The Plays and Fragments
  • The Pot of Gold and Other Plays
  • The Jugurthine War and the Conspiracy of Catiline
  • Leucippe and Clitophon
  • Four Tragedies and Octavia
  • Selected Letters
  • Natural History: A Selection
Publius Ovidius Naso (20 March 43 BCE – CE 17/18), known as Ovid (/ˈɒvɪd/) in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet best known for the Metamorphoses, a 15-book continuous mythological narrative written in the meter of epic, and for collections of love poetry in elegiac couplets, especially the Amores ("Love Affairs") and Ars Amatoria ("Art of Love"). His poetry was much imitated during Late ...more
More about Ovid...

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“All right, boy, skewer me. I've dropped my defenses,
I'm an easy victim. Why, by now
Your arrows practically know their own way to the target
And feel less at home in their quiver than in me.”
“Brass shines with constant usage, a beautiful dress needs wearing,
Leave a house empty, it rots.”
More quotes…