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Ovid's FastiHistorical Readings at its Bimillennium$
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Geraldine Herbert-Brown

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198154754

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198154754.001.0001

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Ovid and the Stellar Calendar

Ovid and the Stellar Calendar

(p.101) 5 Ovid and the Stellar Calendar
Ovid's Fasti

Geraldine Herbert-Brown

Oxford University Press

This chapter proposes that Ovid’s felices animae (F. 1. 295-310) are not astronomers, philosophers, or apolitical scientists as is commonly understood by modern commentators, but Augustan astrologers. It contends that the tone and content of this dazzling encomium are informed not only by concepts and ideals in Ovid’s literary predecessors but also by the unique contemporary issues in Roman religion, literature, and government in the first two decades AD. Ovid’s innovation of including astrologers and an astrological calendar into the fasti tradition was designed to justify the presence of non-Roman astrological advisers at the court of Imperial Rome. It was the publication of Augustus’ horoscope in AD 11 and the edict forbidding the consultation of astrologers in private which necessitated a radical expurgation of astrological material in the Fasti by its author, and which accounts for the shape of the poem as we have it today. However, relics of the original design are clearly discernible in the extant text.

Keywords:   astrologers, horoscope, encomium, felices animae, religion, non-Roman advisers, expurgation

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