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Sara Eusebi

Email: se35@st-andrews.ac.uk

Law, Legal Provisions and Institutions in Ovid's Poetry

Supervised by: Dr Nikoletta Manioti, Dr Emma Buckley

My research intends to develop two main critical issues: firstly, the identification of law as one of the most relevant elements in Roman culture; secondly, the subtly disguised presence of the juridical components of Augustus' cultural revolution in Ovid's works. 

In the Amores, the Ars Amatoria and the Heroides, Ovid goes far beyond the exploitation of legal matters and the metaphorical use of legis actiones pursued by former elegiac poets. In the Metamorphoses, he makes use of an innovative dialectic between composition strategies, Augustan Republican fictio and several juridical-institutional legacies of the (mythic) past. In addition, continuity in the expression of Roman juridical culture in its historical development can be outlined throughout the Fasti. An analysis of the ambiguous representation of the Princeps in Ovid’s works can further contribute to the recognition of an internal evolution in the poet's approach to legal issues and language: in the Fasti and the Metamorphoses, in particular, the author seems to exploit expressive strategies which prove comparable to those adopted by the Augustan propaganda. The growing incidence of juridical themes in Ovid’s later works matches the increasing relevance of the juridical discourse in the Augustan system. Clearly linked to the Princeps, ius symbolises his omnipresence in public life and it emerges as an emblem of the fictitious character of the Augustan régime.

Academic biography and research interests

I completed both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classics at the University of Pavia (Italy). My research interests focus on Ovid and on Augustan poetry in general. I am also interested in Augustan culture, and especially in law-related aspects and legal procedures.

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