Ovid, 43 BCE

Photo courtesy of notablebiographis.com.

I am the poet of the poor, because I was poor when I loved; since I could not give gifts, I gave words. –Ovid

On this day in 43 BCE (Before Common Era), Ovid was born in Sulmo (now Sulmona) in Italy to a wealthy family. After working in the legal field for a brief time, he became a poet. Some of his early works include the Amores (Loves) and Heroides (Heroines).

Around 8 CE, Ovid was banished to Tomis -which is part of modern day Romania- for unknown reasons. Ovid wrote that the reason for his exile was “a poem and a mistake.”

Ovid’s most famous masterpiece is Metamorphoses, which is a single narrative poem of 15 books written in dactylic hexameter. It references over 250 different myths, which are connected by their common theme of transformation, or metamorphosis. One of the stories, Pyramus and Thisbe, shares a similar plot to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Thisbe, by John William Waterhouse, 1909. Photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org.

Despite attempts to return to Rome, Ovid died in Tomis at around 60 years of age.

All things change; nothing perishes. ― Ovid

References:

http://www.biography.com/people/ovid-9430940

http://www.notablebiographies.com/Ni-Pe/Ovid.html

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/metamorphoses/context.html

http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/1127.Ovid (I found the above quotations from this website, but there are so many other good ones. Click on this link to read them all.)

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